front cover of New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem
Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2016

Emanuel Swedenborg understood the city of New Jerusalem--as described in the book of Revelation--to mean not a physical city but an epoch of history, a new spiritual age that was just beginning to take shape during his lifetime in the eighteenth century.

This short work, presented as a series of teachings that characterize this spiritual age to come, is also one of Swedenborg's most concise and readable summaries of his own theology. Building on fundamental concepts such as good, truth, will, and understanding, he describes the importance of love and usefulness in spiritual growth. In the second half of the volume he focuses on how this new theology relates to the church of his day and to church teachings about the Bible, the Lord's incarnation on earth, and rites such as baptism and the Holy Supper. Each short chapter is followed by extensive references back to his theological magnum opus, Secrets of Heaven.

This volume is an excellent starting point for those who want an overview of Swedenborg's theology presented in his own words. 


front cover of The New Metaphysicals
The New Metaphysicals
Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination
Courtney Bender
University of Chicago Press, 2010
American spirituality—with its focus on individual meaning, experience, and exploration—is usually thought to be a product of the postmodern era. But, as The New Metaphysicals makes clear, contemporary American spirituality has historic roots in the nineteenth century and a great deal in common with traditional religious movements. To explore this world, Courtney Bender combines research into the history of the movement with fieldwork in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a key site of alternative religious inquiry from Emerson and William James to today. Through her ethnographic analysis, Bender discovers that a focus on the new, on progress, and on the way spiritual beliefs intersect with science obscures the historical roots of spirituality from its practitioners and those who study it alike—and shape an enduring set of modern religious possibilities in the process.

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