This series of six articles arises out of a conviction that Emanuel Swedenborg’s Latin prose poem, The Worship and Love of God, contains the germ of a new idea of art, one with almost unlimited possibilities of development. Such an idea would be a universal, even, in a sense, a universal of universals. As such, it should be considered by those trained in philosophy. I will Emit myself to considering some possibilities of application to the theatre, particularly the poetic drama.
The Writings teach that the Hebrew language was uniquely suited to the purposes of Divine Revelation in the ultimate degree. They give us an inspiring picture of the beauty and power of the Old Testament in the original tongue. At the same time, how-ever, they present us with a serious problem; for insofar as the Hebrew is unique, its functions cannot be served by any other language; whatever belongs to Hebrew alone is inevitably lost in any translation of the Word.
What approach should the translator of Swedenborg’s Theologi-cal Works take towards the Biblical quotations found in those works? Should they be looked upon as a “Swedenborg transla-tion” of the Bible ?1 or should they not be seen as translations at all ?2 What view should New Church translators of the Bible have with regard to the suggestions Swedenborg’s quotations might offer? Of importance in answering these questions is the study of Swedenborg’s use of the Hebrew and Greek originals of the Bible. There has been discussion of this subject on the basis of the evi-dence found in Swedenborg’s works themselves and statements made by those who had known Swedenborg or were shortly after his time.3 Beyond these early statements, however, there has been no discussion of Swedenborg’s own copies of such texts and their annotations. Indeed, in the case of most of these copies it is not even known if they are extant. One notable exception is Sweden-borg’s copy of the Hebrew text of Everard van der Hooght pub-lished in 1740 in parallel columns with the Schmidius Latin trans-lation.
From ancient times men have sought explanations for their dreams. Both Pharaoh of Egypt and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon clearly accepted the premise that future events were predicted in their dreams, events which a skilled interpreter could readily predict.