Any student of Swedenborg is bound to notice the numerous references to Egypt contained in his writings. In a letter of August 1769, presumably addressed to Messrs. Thomas Hartley and Husband Messiter, he offers to explain the Egyptian hieroglyphics and publish a treatise on the subject “if it is desired.” Unfortunately the offer was never taken up.These widely scattered references awakened my curiosity to see them combined into a more comprehensive picture, comparing them with an investigation of archeological findings and modem scholarly inquiry. It is claimed that we know more about Egypt than about any other ancient civilization, and all available pieces of Ancient Egyptian writing have been carefully deciphered and catalogued. A number of interesting New Church articles have been published in America and Europe, although in some cases these are of questionable value.
It is very important to understand the means by which Swedenborg was prepared to become the revelator of the Heavenly Doctrines. From the beginning of the Church, this has been realized. Robert Hindmarsh was one of the first men to translate into English one of Swedenborg’s Preparatory Works. In the middle years of the last century, J. J. Garth Wilkinson translated several of Swedenborg’s anatomical works and thereby awakened a very keen interest in the means of Swedenborg’s preparation for the office of revelator. With the rise of the Academy, this interest in Swedenborg’s preparation was again renewed, and it reached a high point at the turn of the century with the work that was done by Miss Lillian Beekman. Lately there has been a waning of interest in the Preparatory Works.