A Swedenborg Sampler.

Author:Charpentier, Julia Ann
Position:Book review

Emanuel Swedenborg (author); A SWEDENBORG SAMPLER; Swedenborg Foundation Press (Nonfiction: Religion) $14.95 ISBN: 9780877854104

Byline: Julia Ann Charpentier

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was an eighteenth-century Swedish theologian whose writings formed the basis for a fascinating offshoot of the Christian church. His interpretations go against fundamentalist doctrine and literal acceptance of the Bible. Esoteric and intellectual, his religion is based on visions he experienced, which he believed were direct communication with the spirit world.

A Swedenborg Sampler is a compilation of the best of his writings in translation. This book contains selections from five of his works the translators have deemed appropriate for a mainstream audience.

Heaven and Hell, the most popular essay, describes the process of crossing over into a realm of human angels and the instructional role they play in the afterlife. Divine Love and Wisdom is a philosophical definition of God and heaven. According to Swedenborg, God exists outside time and space, an infinite source of love and wisdom. He discusses levels of creation and the meaning of life itself. This section is for scholars rather than theologians. Divine Providence is a dissertation on five spiritual laws: free will, rejection of evil, faith, guidance, and acknowledgement of a godly presence. True Christianity, the last book he published only a year before his death, presents a new type of Christianity based on rebellious convictions, a revised version of Lutheran theology. Censored in Sweden because it went against the state church...

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