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20210401

Imagining Swedenborg’s Heaven

Date: 01.04.2021
Start Time: 16:00
Place: Microsoft Teams
Organiser: The research team of the project “Between Secularization and Reform,” principal investigator: Dr Anna Tomaszewska (anna.tomaszewska@uj.edu.pl)
Contact: anna.tomaszewska@uj.edu.pl

The research team of the project “Between Secularization and Reform. Religious Rationalism in the Late 17th Century and in the Enlightenment” organises the eleventh meeting in the “Enlightenment and Religion” series. The meeting, to be held on 1 April 2021 at 16:00 to 18:00 CET (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) on Microsoft Teams, will host Prof. Wouter Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) who will deliver a lecture titled Imagining Swedenborg’s Heaven. All willing to join the meeting are kindly requested to sign up via the website of the project (https://www.religiousrationalism.com/event-info/lecture-by-prof-wouter-hanegraaff-univ-of-amsterdam) or by sending an expression of interest to the following address: religious.rationalism@iphils.uj.edu.pl. More information about the project and the seminar is available on the website: https://www.religiousrationalism.com/events. The event is open to everyone interested in the topic.

The research team of the project “Between Secularization and Reform. Religious Rationalism in the Late 17th Century and in the Enlightenment” organises the eleventh meeting in the “Enlightenment and Religion” series. The meeting, to be held on 1 April 2021 at 16:00 to 18:00 CET (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) on Microsoft Teams, will host Prof. Wouter Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) who will deliver a lecture titled Imagining Swedenborg’s Heaven. All willing to join the meeting are kindly requested to sign up via the website of the project (https://www.religiousrationalism.com/event-info/lecture-by-prof-wouter-hanegraaff-univ-of-amsterdam) or by sending an expression of interest to the following address: religious.rationalism@iphils.uj.edu.pl. More information about the project and the seminar is available on the website: https://www.religiousrationalism.com/events. The event is open to everyone interested in the topic.

 

Abstract: This lecture is about the reception history of Swedenborg and his relation to the arts, and will focus more specifially on the question of what may have motivated so many artists to take inspiration from Swedenborg. Swedenborg’s scriptural exegesis was extremely dry and technical, but his descriptions of heaven and hell spoke to the imagination. I will begin with a discussion of Swedenborg’s reception by Oetinger and Kant, focusing in particular on the latter’s concept of imagination (Einbildungskraft) and its promotion from a faculty of delusion to a faculty of cognition. The potential for the imagination to reveal true visions of the afterlife flourished in the context of Mesmeric somnambulism in largely Romantic contexts. Remarkably, the noumenal world that had been declared inaccessible for human consciousness, by both Kant and Swedenborg himself, became available as a phenomenal interior world in post-Kantian idealism.

 

Prof. Wouter Hanegraaff professor of the history of Hermetic philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Hanegraaff works on the aspects of European thinking that have influenced philosophy, theology and arts since the Renaissance, and in particular, post-Enlightenment philosophy, but that are often excluded from the studies of the historians of ideas. He has been the president of the Dutch Society for the Study of Religion (2002–2006) and European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (2005–2013). The most recent monographs that he has published are: Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury 2013), Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture (Cambridge University Press 2012) and Swedenborg, Oetinger, Kant: Three Perspectives on the Secrets of Heaven (Swedenborg Foundation 2007). He has also edited the Brill Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (2005). Prof. Hanegraaff has published a number of articles, most recently: “Imagining the Future Study of Religion and Spirituality” (Religion 50 (2020)), “Reconstructing ‘Religion’ from the Bottom Up” (Numen 63 (2016)) and “Religion and the Historical Imagination: Esoteric Tradition as Poetic Invention” (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten 67 (2015), republished in Polish in 2017 and Italian in 2019).

 

Poster.