The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 6, 2013

June 6, 1523

Emanuel Swedenborg's life and writings held a rather odd hold on the modern imagination. I say odd for one thing because nothing I have read indicates his ideas were so compelling or challenging that he should have been  widely influential. He seems to have been a genuinely humble guy, given to mystical experiences. And talking about what he learned. He warned people to be careful they were transmitting the result of divine help, and not something personal. Just a nice guy. Gifted, confused, (the tether of reason lightly held) but hardly world-changing. His dates (January 29, 1688 to March 29, 1772) overlap Blake's slightly (November 28,  1757 to August 12, 1827) which I mention since the latter is an example of someone whose experience resulted in astounding art and life events. But Swedenborg, -- a nice guy. Yet, he was influential on many: Kant, (though he pretended otherwise,) and the father of William James, who found Swedenborg enthralling, for example. 

The first Swedenborg temple in the United States opened on January 5, 1800 in Baltimore. More recently we find mention of a Swedenborgian pastor in Portland Maine, named Wilma Wake. Her website, swedenborg.org is where she published a sermon titled "The Near Death Experience and Love." (March 14, 1999.) In it she talks about her cat Marty. She had Marty declawed after he scratched her.

So on June 6, Sweden's national day, (on June 6, 1523, Gustav Vasa,was elected king of Sweden, and a new dynasty and identity began) we ask, about one of their most famous sons, was Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedenborgian?

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