Dr. Jonathan S. Rose, series editor of the New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (NCE), takes a closer look at how Swedenborg benefited from indexing his own writings in a talk that was given in Bryn Athyn, PA on February 12, 2017 as part of the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Swedenborg Library. We thank them for sharing this video with us!
Swedenborg created extensive indexes of his published works for his own reference, and some of his works include what amounts to an index of related material in the body of the text. For example, in his short work New Jerusalem, each chapter ends with a list of references to the topic in Secrets of Heaven that in many cases is longer than the chapter itself. This “index” material is often ignored by translators—for example, New Jerusalem is frequently published without the Secrets of Heaven references—but the editors of the NCE have found that sometimes these indexes contain new information, as if the process of indexing helped Swedenborg consolidate his ideas or remember things he’d forgotten. An example of this is True Christianity; at the end of the work, Swedenborg provides an index of all the memorable occurrences (stories of Swedenborg’s encounters in the spirit world) throughout the two-volume work. That list includes details that aren’t in the main text, and even a brand-new memorable occurrence that was never published anywhere else.