Today was an exciting and fruitful day at University of the Pacific, tracing down the ways John Muir was reading and responding to Swedenborgian thought. The wonderful Muir archive in the Holt-Atherton Collection houses Muir’s former library, which includes several books by / about Swedenborg, and/or Swedenborgian figures like Sampson Reed and James John Garth Wilkinson… Continue reading
New discussion forum is now open, for week 2!
Much looking forward to your comments.
Hi gang —
The readings are all up and posted for this week. Please begin by watching the Swedenborg documentary, as per the post below. If you are short on time, please read the Swedenborg selections from Divine Love & Wisdom first, before reading the chapter excerpt from A Language of Things.
A discussion forum will open tomorrow, to get our blog discussion for this week going.
Hi everyone —
In lieu of a “normal” ten-minute minilecture for this upcoming week, I would like all of you to view my advance-copy of the newest documentary film about Swedenborg, Heaven, Hell, and Other Places: A Film about Emanuel Swedenborg (edited / directed by the superb British artists Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan). This has been some three-years in the production, and is one of the finest cinematic overviews of Swedenborg’s life and works (in my humble opinion, anyway).
Though some folks in the seminar have been studying Swedenborg for years, in some cases decades, others are still new to the terrain, and approaching this work for the first time. So, Cartwright and Jordan’s film–commissioned by the London Swedenborg Society for their bicentenary in 2010 –will paint some useful broad strokes for the background of Swedenborg’s life, which we are trying to “green” in this seminar thru an ecocritical lens.
Because the film has just been released on DVD, it is under copyright and license protections (indeed, the deluxe DVD would make great Christmas presents! [personal plug]). To access an online version for viewing in this class, go to the minilectures tab from the menu above. Once your mouse cursor is on minilectures and the submenu pops up, scroll down to “Week 2 Minilecture.” Click on that — you will be asked to enter a password. Enter the same password you use for the “Texts” page on the blog, and you’ll be able to view the page for Heaven, Hell, and Other Places.
I have a small part in the documentary as a so-called “talking head” (looking a bit haggard, I will admit, as my second daughter had just then been born, and the sleepless nights were long and many, before flying to London to film), where I raise a few questions regarding the environmental implications of Swedenborg’s theosophy. It’s not terribly long at just over thirty minutes…
The readings for this week (and new discussion page) will go up by this Wednesday; please watch Heaven, Hell, and Other Places before you read “Visionary Science” and the excerpts from Swedenborg.
While I get things sorted out for the minilecture that will go up tomorrow afternoon (Thursday), here’s a great little video from the Yale Forum on Religion & Ecology There’s some interesting ideas around ecumenicism and interfaith collaboration that are provocative to think about where / how / in what ways Swedenborgian thought might fit within this pluralistic picture. It also chimes in with some of the points Alistair McGrath makes in the reading for this week (even as the video functions, ostensibly, as P.R. for their graduate program!)