Spiritual Law: The Essence of Swedenborg’s Divine Providence

Joanna V. Hill. Rock Point (SCB, dist.), $15.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-9912516-0-5
When Emanuel Swedenborg began his spiritual work, leaving behind a lifetime of scientific and mathematical accomplishment, he knew his ideas would not be well received. As the son of a Lutheran cleric, Swedenborg was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, after claiming to have had visionary experiences and visits to heaven, he began nearly a half-century of writing on religious topics, at first anonymously, and always in Latin. He eventually wrote what he would consider one of his most essential works in 1762: Divine Providence. He used this concept to describe the entirety of God’s law, an “ordering of the universe.” Swedenborg insisted that God’s purpose and plan were not to exclude people from the Kingdom, but to draw them in and improve them in the process. This argument represented a radical transformation of theology as it was then understood. Reading Swedenborg can be a challenge, even in contemporary English translations, but Hill does a yeoman’s job of distilling Divine Providence, which is itself a distillation of Swedenborg’s earlier thoughts, into a wonderfully readable and understandable work. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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