Rev. Dr. William Ross Woofenden died in his 91st year on Friday, May 4, 2012. Bill played important roles for the Swedenborg Scientific Association from 1980 to 1999 as a Director on the Board and as the Chairman of the Publication Committee.
We know that Emanuel Swedenborg, spent a large portion of his time traveling through countries outside Sweden and that he passed the last part of his life in England. However, it is quite clear that the place where he worked the most and where he returned again and again was Stockholm, the place of his birth. Of course this city has changed dramatically since the time when he lived there, but the whole structure of thecentral areas, where he was reportedly seen by many, is still largely the same as it was in his lifetime.
Between April 1745, when his open experiences of the spiritual world started, and December 1748, when he started writing Secrets of Heaven, Swedenborg wrote some 5,000 folio pages of material that he never published. He started by drafting a presentation of deeper meaning in Genesis and Exodus, turned then to Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, and First and Second Kings, then went back and went through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and then did Isaiah and made a beginning on Jeremiah. All this has been published posthumously, both in Latin, as Adversaria or Notes, and in English as The Word Explained.2 Later, he started systematically recording brief accounts of his experiences as they happened, his “Spiritual Diary.” The earliest entries are dated in August 1747, and the latest in my Latin edition is from September of 1749. This material too has been published both in Latin and in English.
There has been real concern over the slow growth of the Swedenborgian Church and its intellectual challenges have increased toward demonstrating the relevancy of Swedenborg’s ideas to a post-modern world. This article, taken from my address in April at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Swedenborg Scientific Association, attempts to briefly explore the radical idea that today’s scientists must still catch up to Swedenborg’s models of reality. The implications of this are brought to light by pointing out thatSwedenborg’s theology and multi-level interpretation of the Bible were saturated with universal scientific principles that embrace the wide-ranging concepts of gravity, quantum non-locality, poly-dimensional space, process theory, creation, and evolutionary theory and neuroscience. If Swedenborg’s discoveries can offer insights that provide rational solutions to many of today’s nagging scientific questions, this would be a truly explosive event in the history of human thought. I have expanded on some of the points made in my original address to give other researchers’ additional avenues of exploration. In spite of this added information, this article represents the labor of one trained in right-brained thinking.
A Descriptive Bibliography of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), Volume 1 by Norman Ryder (editor)The Hidden Levels of the Mind: Swedenborg's Theory of Consciousness by Douglas Taylor
12 Miracles of Spiritual Growth: A Path of Healing from the Gospels. By E. Kent Rogers.Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas. By Gary LachmanThe Swedish Prophet: Reflections on the Visionary Philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg. By José Antón-Pacheco.A History of the Swedenborg Society, 1910–2010. By Richard Lines
Our sister publishers The Swedenborg Society and the Swedenborg Foundation have published a number of books in 2011 and 2012 that make for very good reading and contribute significantly to the body of literature by or about Swedenborg, or that represent the application of the ideas express in his works.