Emanuel Swedenborg (and Immanuel Kant): Last Judgment in the 18th century

Last Judgment / Supplements (New Century Edition) – Kindle edition by EMANUEL SWEDENBORG

One of the unique facets of Swedenborg’s theology is his assertion that the Last Judgment as foretold in the book of Revelation has already happened—that it took place in the spiritual world and would have lasting effects on earth.

This volume comprises two short works, originally published separately, which describe the Last Judgment as Swedenborg claims to have witnessed it over the course of many months in 1757. In Last Judgment, first published in 1758, Swedenborg lays out how and why the Last Judgment occurred, explaining that history can be divided into a series of spiritual ages or churches. At the end of each age, evil threatens to overwhelm both the physical and the spiritual worlds, and the Lord restores balance between good and evil with a “Last Judgment.” Thus the 1757 Last Judgment, Swedenborg says, applied only to the souls of people who had lived since the time of Christ, and the reformation of the spiritual world allowed humanity to enter the next age with a new understanding of religion. In the second half of Last Judgment, Swedenborg describes how various types of people were judged, a theme he continues in the 1763 short work Supplements.

The new spiritual age that Swedenborg saw emerging during his lifetime is one of the foundational themes in his theology (a theme he explores more deeply in his later work, Revelation Unveiled, which is a commentary on the book of Revelation). In Supplements, Swedenborg succinctly introduces his understanding of the connection between heaven and earth and of how that connection plays out over the course of human history.



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Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, Immanuel Kant’s book on Emanuel Swedenborg, has mystified readers since its publication in 1766 during Swedenborg’s lifetime. The unusual style and content of Dreams have given rise to two opposing interpretations. Most Kant scholars regard the work as a skeptical attack on Swedenborg’s mysticism. Other critics, however, believe that Kant regarded Swedenborg as a serious philosopher and visionary, and that Dreams both reveals Kant’s profound debt to Swedenborg and conceals that debt behind the mask of irony.

In addition, Dr. Gregory R. Johnson provides selections from other Kantian writings that mention Swedenborg and also contemporary reviews of Dreams, showing that Kant himself was ambivalent about Swedenborg’s claims and that readers of his day questioned his position.

With its extensive notes, this work is an invaluable resource for students of Kant and of Swedenborg.


Text (PDF)

Dreams of a spirit-seer : Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804: Internet Archive


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