Emanuel Swedenborg (SWEED-uhn-bawrg) was born Emanuel Swedberg at Stockholm on January 29, 1688. His father was Dr. Jesper Swedberg, professor of theology at the University of Uppsala and Bishop of Skara who, raised to the rank of the nobility for services to the Swedish crown, later changed his name to Swedenborg. By Swedenborg’s own account, his childhood was unusual in that he spent much time in spiritual thought and in conversation with clergymen on matters of faith. He attended the University of Uppsala, taking his degree in 1709. He then traveled in England, Holland, France, and Germany before returning to Sweden in 1715. During his travels he studied wherever he went, and upon his return he entered Uppsala once again to study science and engineering. In 1716, Charles XII of Sweden, who had become a friend and admirer of Swedenborg, appointed him assessor on the Swedish board of mines, a post Swedenborg filled until 1747 (with some opposition between 1718 and 1723) and for which he received a salary for the rest of his life.
By 1720 Swedenborg had published a volume of Latin verse and more than twenty treatises on scientific and mechanical subjects. The scientific works before 1721 were largely in Swedish, but the later writings, regardless of subject, were written in Latin and were mostly published outside Sweden. His first major work in philosophy and theology was the Principia, which was one volume in the three-volume Opera...
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