• Emanuel Swedenborg

    The Development of His Thought

    By Martin Lamm
    Translated by Tomas Spiers and Anders Hallengren
    Foreword by Paul Valery
    Swedenborg Studies #9

    Available for the first time in English, Martin Lamm’s work on the evolution of the philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) has stood as one of the standard works on the Swedish theologian since its original publication in 1915. Lamm shows that Swedenborg’s scientific worldview was not changed by his later religious revelations — that the two complemented and corroborated each other. Read more

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Available for the first time in English, Martin Lamm’s work on the evolution of Emanuel Swedenborg’s (1688-1772) philosphical system has stood as the standard humanist interpretation of Swedenborg’s writings. First published in Swedish in 1915, the book has influenced generations of European scholars. His detailed investigation of the philosophical and religious background of Swedenborgian thought is an illuminating inquiry into the mystery of how Swedenborg was transformed from a scientist into a seer.

Lamm demonstrates that there is a logical and consisten line of thought developed from Swedenborg’s earliest childhood experiences to his most mature theological statements. Backed by scholarly evidence, Lamm shows that Swedenborg’s scientifically based worldview was not changed by his religious revelations — rather, his visions completed and corroborated the picture.

Martin Lamm’s analysis of the genesis of Swedenborgian philosophy is a masterful and lively portrait of one of history’s most remarkable thinkers.

About the Author

Martin Lamm was a member of the Swedish Academy and chairman of the Department of History of Literature at Stockholm University. Among his other works that have become classics of Scandinavian scholarship are Johan Gabriel Oxenstierna (1911), Upplysningstidens romantik (1918), Strindbergs dramer (1924), August Strindberg (1940), and Det moderna dramat (1948).


Anders Hallengren is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and a research fellow in the Department of History of Literature and the History of Ideas at Stockholm University. He served as consulting editor for literature at Nobelprize.org. Dr. Hallengren is a fellow of The Hemingway Society (USA) and was on the Steering Committee for the 1993 Guilin ELT/Hemingway International Conference in the People’s Republic of China. Among his works in English are The Code of Concord: Emerson’s Search for Universal Laws; Gallery of Mirrors: Reflections of Swedenborgian Thought; and What is National Literature: Lectures on Emerson, Dostoevsky, Hemingway and the Meaning of Culture.


How is a Swedenborg possible? What must be assumed to consider the co-existence of the qualities of a learned engineer, of an eminent government official, of a man wise in practical matters and learned in every field, with the characteristics of a visionary who has no hesitation in writing out and publishing visions, in allowing himself to be known as one visited by the inhabitants of another world, taught by them, and living a part of his life in their mysterious company?”

—Paul Valery

“. . . A treasure for the historian of early modern thought, as well as for anyone trying to understand the intricacies of Swedenborg himself.”

—Prof. Tamar Frankiel, University of California (Riverside) in Metanexux

About the Swedenborg Studies Series

Swedenborg Studies is a scholarly series published by the Swedenborg Foundation. The primary purpose of the series is to make materials available for understanding the life and thought of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and the impact his thought has had on others. The Foundation undertakes to publish original studies and English translations and to republish primary sources that are otherwise difficult to access.

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Martin Lamm


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