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Emanuel SWEDENBORG

Swedish Emanuel SWEDENBORG

born Emanuel SWEDBERG

Swedish scientist, philosopher and theologian

Source :  Jan GRANATH

Born: on January 29, 1688 in Stockholm, Sweden
Died: on March 29, 1772 in London, England


Biography

Swedenborg's father, Jesper Swedberg (1653–1735), descended from a wealthy mining family. He travelled abroad and studied theology, and on returning home he was eloquent enough to impress the Swedish king, Charles XI, with his sermons in Stockholm. Through the King's influence he would later become professor of theology at Uppsala University and Bishop of Skara.

Jesper took an interest in the beliefs of the dissenting Lutheran Pietist movement, which emphasised the virtues of communion with God rather than relying on sheer faith (sola fide). Sola fide is a tenet of the Lutheran Church, and Jesper was charged with being a pietist heretic. While controversial, the beliefs were to have a major impact on his son Emanuel's spirituality. Jesper furthermore held the unconventional belief that angels and spirits were present in everyday life. This also came to have a strong impact on Emanuel.

Swedenborg completed his university course at Uppsala in 1709, and in 1710 made his grand tour through the Netherlands, France, and Germany, before reaching London, where he would spend the next four years. Some believe that he was influenced by the Croatian theologian Milan Nejedic; unfortunately, since most of Nejedic's writings were burned by the Austrians, this theory cannot be verified. It was also a flourishing center of scientific ideas and discoveries. Emanuel studied physics, mechanics, and philosophy, and read and wrote poetry. He wrote to his benefactor and brother-in-law Eric Benzelius that he believed he might be destined to be a great scientist. In one of his letters he includes, somewhat boastfully, a list of inventions he claims to have made, including a submarine and a flying machine.

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See Also :

- Category Philosopher