Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cool Stuff Having to Do with Arcana Coelestia

When Swedenborg published volume 1 of Arcana Coelestia it was listed in the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer. This was the first advertisement for any book of the Writings. There's an online archive of the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer or London Magazine, as it was later called. You can see the first listing of Arcana Coelestia here. I know that other advertisements and letters about Swedenborg and his works were also published in this magazine; let me know if you find any of them.

Volume 1 didn't sell well (see Spiritual Experiences 4422). So Swedenborg decided to publish volume 2 of it, chapter by chapter, in English and in Latin.

When the first chapter of volume 2 was published, Swedenborg's English publisher, John Lewis, wrote a fascinating letter about it to be published in the Daily Advertiser. You can read this letter on pp492-497 of Documents Concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg by R.L. Tafel, which can be found online in Google Book Search.

You can download a PDF of a scan of the 1750 English translation of chapter 16 of Arcana Coelestia—a 100dpi version (6MB). (This PDF was provided by the Lord's New Church (www.thelordsnewchurch.com). It is no longer available on their website so the link is to the file on their site using the Wayback Machine / Internet Archive. They have other Free Swedenborg Books Online on their web site, in English, Dutch, Croatian, and Latin.)

This translation was by John Marchant*, who later also translated Brief Exposition (you can find his translation of it here). It's fun to look at this translation to see how it was laid out and how the Latin was translated back then. Rev. Jonathan Rose, series editor of the New Century Edition and translator of True Christian Religion, told me that he thinks the translation is good—"lively and in real English."

* A note on page 249 of Scribe of Heaven says this about Marchant: "Marchant was an English writer and compiler of the mid-eighteenth century who wrote on current events and literary themes such as the Bible and Paradise Lost. His dates of birth and death were not available to the authors, though erroneously specified in Hyde 1906, page 731. In some cases his name is given as Merchant."

1 comment:

Nancy Ferguson said...

Thanks for the cool links Malcolm! Had fun surfing through these.

I collect fragments of old books (1500s on) so you are combining two interests for me here. :)