How might the writings of an 18th century Scandinavian mystic– Emanuel Swedenborg — speak to some of our pressing ecological concerns in the 21st Century?  This online discussion-based course examines Swedenborg’s writings from our current point of view, aiming to give students an historical and theological perspective on the works of Swedenborg and how they might inform modern environmental thought and practice.

Reading from Divine Love and Wisdom and Divine Providence and reviewing some of Swedenborg’s earlier science, we will seek to understand how his work fit into the dialogue of 18th century natural theology, Divine beauty, and the order of nature.  From this perspective we will take a look at the ways Swedenborgian theology informed the work of American nature writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and Henry David Thoreau and from there, the emergence of the modern environmental movement at the end of the 19th century.

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