Emanuel Swedenborg Collection
Documentary heritage submitted by Sweden and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is one of the internationally best known of Swedish writers. After a successful career as a scientist and a technician he went through a religious crisis in the 1740's, which ended in a revelation commanding him to devote the rest of his life to interpreting the Holy Scripture and reporting what he had seen and heard in the world of spirits and angels. In obedience to this divine task, he spent his last twenty-five years writing a great number of books, in which he attempted restoring the internal sense of the Biblical Word, as he understood it. After his death in 1772, his manuscripts, some 20 000 pages, were donated by his heirs to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, of which Swedenborg was a member. It is one of the biggest existing collections of manuscripts from the 18th century, and besides one of the very few in modern times that has served as the basis for a new Christian church. Swedenborg's message has found many receivers all over the world, and at least some of them look upon his manuscripts as relics. Because of their holy status many of the papers were also reproduced in a photolithographic edition as early as around 1870 by American and British Swedenborg congregations, and the technique was then used for the first time on a large scale. There are still quite a few Swedenborg societies and churches extant, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of these are translating and publishing his writings in new editions.