• Emanuel Swedenborg—Exploring a “World Memory”

    Context, Content, Contribution

    Edited by Karl Grandin

    In 2010, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences hosted their first-ever academic symposium on Emanuel Swedenborg. The papers presented during this symposium represent research from top scholars from all over the world. This resulting volume is a gem for anyone interested in better understanding this influential figure. Read more

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In 2010, a scholarly symposium on Emanuel Swedenborg’s ideas and influence was held at the Center for History of Science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The symposium was a celebration of a recently completed digital catalog of the academy’s Swedenborg archive, which in 2006 was designated as part of UNESCO’s World Memory program. This was the first time that an academic symposium on Swedenborg was hosted by a non-Swedenborgian institution.

The symposium attracted presenters from all over the world, including some top scholars. Papers were divided into three categories. “Content” describes Swedenborg’s thought, from his use of spheres in his scientific writings to his views on sexuality and marriage to analyses of his theological writings. “Context” explores his times, putting Swedenborg in the context of eighteenth-century philosophy and looking at the organization of the earliest Swedenborgian church. “Contribution” looks at Swedenborg’s influence on philosophy and the arts, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Czeslaw Milocz to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and William James.

These papers present a rare insight into Swedenborg, who was a member of the Academy during his lifetime. Although only a limited number of attendees were invited to the symposium, now the research is available to all.

About the Author

Karl Grandin has been the director of the Center for History of Science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm since 2008. He received a MSc. and a PhD from Uppsala University. He has been the editor of the Nobel Foundation yearbook since 2006 (Les Prix Nobel 2006–2010and The Nobel Prizes 2012–). Among his recent publications are A Wireless World: One Hundred Years since the Nobel Prize to Guglielmo Marconi, eds. Karl Grandin, et al. (Florence University Press, 2012) and Going Digital: Evolutionary and Revolutionary Aspects of Digitization, ed. Karl Grandin (Stockholm, 2011).


“As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, and especially recommended for academic library collections, “Emanuel Swedenborg–Exploring a “World Memory”: Context, Content, Contribution” is essential reading for students of the life and work of Emanuel Swedenborg.”

Midwest Book Review, February 2014.

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