Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Parallels Between Morton Smith and Emanuel Swedenborg

From an article at the Swedenborg House of Study entitled Philosemitism[1] in the Seventeenth Century by George F Dole:

It is generally assumed by Swedenborg's biographers that Eric Benzelius' enthusiastic Cartesianism was a significant factor in young Emanuers intellectual development. In her article, "Swedenborg, Jacobitism, and Freemasonry," Marsha Schuchard calls attention to another factor in this situation, one which has not come to biographers' attention--Benzelius' similar enthusiasm for the thought of Johan Kemper, a converted Jew who worked at Uppsala as a tutor in Hebrew.[2] In fact, if Swedenborg began his study of Hebrew at Uppsala, as Sigstedt believes,[3] Kemper would have been his principal instructor. The following material offers a glimpse of attitudes toward the Old Testament and toward Jewish thought which were "new and exciting" in Uppsala at this critical time in Swedenborg's preparation.

1 "Philosemitism" is a word eoined by students of Christian-Jewish relations to denote the opposite of antisemitism
2 Edand J. Brock et. al., eds. Swedenborg and His Influence (Bryn Athyn, PA, Academy of the/New Church, 1988), p. 363.
3 Cyriel Sigstedt. The Swedenborg Epic (New York: Book'man Associates, 1952), p. 10.

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