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Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688–1772)

  1. Peter Lineham

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1334

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Lineham, P. 2011. Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688–1772). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm on January 29, 1688, third child of court chaplain Jesper Swedberg, who served from the 1690s as professor of theology at the University of Uppsala and then from 1702 until his death in 1735 as bishop of Skara. The family was ennobled and their name changed to Swedenborg in 1719. A clever young man, Emanuel was educated at the University of Uppsala, majoring in mathematics, and then traveled abroad from 1710 to 1715. On his return he was appointed by royal patronage an unpaid assessor to the Board of Mines, and in 1724 he was appointed an ordinary assessor. He published a number of Latin works, notably the large Principa Rerum Naturalium (1734) and then Oeconomia Regni Animalis (1741–1745) in which he explores various theories of the nature of life, somewhat in the tradition of Descartes and Malebranche, which he learned from his brother-in-law Eric Benzelius, the friend of Leibniz, and from Christopher Polhelm, Sweden's pioneer scientist.


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