The New Philosophy Vol 109 No 3-4, July-December 2006
In 1693 King Charles XI of Sweden received a letter from Fort Christina, the first of three settlements established from 1638 on the western bank of the Delaware. New Sweden came under Dutch control in 1655, but life went on for the Swedes pretty much as before.1 Charles XI enjoined the assistance of the Rev. Jesper Svedberg of the Swedish consistory, father of Emanuel Swedenborg and Professor of Theology, and later Bishop of Skara, who sent the ministers Jonas Auren, Andrew Rudman, and Eric Bjork. Until his death in 1735 Bishop Svedberg remained “the special guardian of the Swedish church on the Delaware.”2 This fascinating if elliptical connexion with Swedenborg shows the smallness of the Early Modern world and reminds one of the reflexive influence of mundane affairs like colonization and wars in the diffusion of Swedenborg’s teachings between Europe and America. In 1664 the area passed to English control, forming part of the grant to William Penn who established Pennsylvania, with its capital Philadelphia lying where Fort Christina had once existed. By 1775 King Gustavus III had greatly reduced expenses and gradually the settlement ceased to exist, absorbed in the great melting pot of the new Republic.
Some years ago I had the opportunity to attend an extended seminar on the relationship between science and religion, funded by the Templeton Foundation. While most of the talks were quite interesting and informative, I felt somewhat out of place and initially did not realize the source of this sense of displacement. Then toward the end the week, during a discussion period, a Jewish theologian rose to make a statement. Like me, he had also found the talks very interesting but pointed out that most were given from the perspective of American Protestantism and, as a consequence, some of the issues discussed were irrelevant to him whereas other issues that were important for him were not discussed at all.
In the New Jerusalem Journal, 1792, page 401, is an article signed “Omicron” in which the writer advises New Church people to study the science and philosophy of Swedenborg as a preparation of their minds to understand more fully the teachings of the Writings, even as the investigation and study of natural truth prepared the mind of Swedenborg to receive and give the Revelation to the world; and he proposed that the Economy of the Animal Kingdom and The Animal Kingdom be translated for the English reader. But he received no response or encouragement; yet, between then and 1828, three of the smaller philosophical works—The Infinite, the Hieroglyphic Key, and the Worship and Love of God, Parts I and II—were translated and published. In 1828, Dr. Atlee translated The Principia, but his effort to have it published failed. Between the years 1827 and 1837, favorable comments on some of the physiological works appeared in the public prints.
Miscellaneous Observations, Parts I-III