Monday, December 29, 2008

The Works of Emanuel Swedenborg - on your Palm!

(NOTE: This blog post was originally posted in 2009, which was before I had published the works of Emanuel Swedenborg on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple IBookStore.  I would recommend these versions, but in case anyone out there has a Palm instead of an IPhone, you can also read his works on a Palm)

The volumes of Swedenborg's writings is so immense that it is almost impossible for me to carry his works around, especially since I travel a lot. One day I found a web site that has all his writings online: I then wrote a script in Perl that automatically browsed the entire web site and sucked down all of Swedenborg's writings, and I created a series of e-texts and uploaded them to the Internet Sacred Archive.  Since then, the site is now Googled and I keep seeing more of these translations pop up across the internet.

Still, I desired to carry Swedenborg around with me. So I then exported the e-texts into a Palm database file to read it on my mobile Palm (and no, I do not have an IPhone or smart phone yet). I used a program called ISilo, however it was insufficient as it did not index the chapters and notes of the books. I then found a Palm Bible+ application, and found a converter to convert any writing to that reader. I set out to then convert the e-texts of Swedenborg's writings to the Palm Bible+ application - I was then confronted with a problem: how to sort and order all of the books?

As it turns out, the books I had uploaded to the sacred texts is a chronological list of both published works of Swedenborg and his unpublished works - even his own personal diary. And the two sets should be distinguished - what was unpublished is often in draft form, and was used later to publish the work as he was directed to do so. An analysis between the published and unpublished manuscripts can be found by clicking here. The article is oddly entitled, "Which works of Swedenborg are Divinely Inspired?".  While I think it is important to distinguish between the published and unpublished works, I would not go so far as give Swedenborg's works the same status as scripture.

If we take a look at the published works of Swedenborg (which are described in detail here), we have the following chronological list of works:

Arcana Coelestia: Or Heavenly Mysteries, 1747-1758, 12 vols.
Earths in the Universe, 1756-1758, 105 pp.
Heaven and Hell, 1757-1758, 455 pp.
Last Judgment, 1757-1758, 83 pp.
New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, 1757-1758, 205 pp.
White Horse, 1757-1758, 26 pp.
Doctrine of the Lord, 1761-1763, pp.
Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, 1761-1763, 94 pp.
Doctrine of Life, 1761-1763, 58 pp.
Doctrine of Faith, 1761-1763, 58 pp.
Continuation Concerning the Last Judgment, 1763, 43 pp.
Divine Love and Wisdom, 1763, 292 pp.
Divine Providence, 1763-1764, 376 pp.
Apocalypse Revealed, 1764-1766, 2 vols.
Conjugial Love, 1767-1768, 525 pp.
Brief Exposition, 1768-1769, 103 pp.
Intercourse of the Soul and the Body, 1769, 38pp.
True Christian Religion, 1769-1771, 2 vols.

The second work, Earths in the Universe, is an unusual work discussing extraterrestrial life - one of the earliest explicit references to UFO visitation I have ever seen. Although published as a separate work, it is in fact a compilation of passages already found in Arcana Coelestia, so I decided to skip it for this Palm project.

Then there is the Last Judgment, with a follow on that was published much later, Continuation of the Last Judgment. As these were obviously one work, each quite short, I decided to consolidate them as two chapters in one book.

Then there is his shortest work of all, White Horse, an explanation of the white horse in Revelation 19 (and no, its not a literal white horse out of heaven). As the topic was similar to the Last Judgment, I decided to append this as the third chapter to that consolidated work.

Next came five short works - all dealing with doctrines of the New Church. I decided to consolidate them into one work, New Jerusalem Doctrines, with each book having its own chapter as the latter four are especially short in length.

Two other small works, Brief Exposition, and Intercourse of the Soul and Body, deal with common religious misconceptions that persist in our day - I decided to consolidate those two in one book with two chapters.

When all is said and done, I ended up with the following list of official theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg:

1. Arcana Coelestia (AC)
2. Heaven and Hell (HH)
3. Last Judgment (LJ)
4. New Jerusalem Doctrines (NJD)
5. Divine Love and Wisdom (DLW)
6. Divine Providence (DP)
7. Conjugial Love (CL)
8. Apocalypse Revealed (AR)
9. Brief Expositions (BE)
10. True Christian Religion (TCR)

So, if you happen to own a Palm and wish to read the published works of Emanuel Swedenborg on it, you can download the Palm PDB file of his works by clicking here.  The PDB file is designed to work with the Palm Bible+ reader, which can be found by clicking here.

Again, if you have an IPhone or Android device, the best bet are the versions found on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and the iBookstore.  Those versions have the advantage where they are much easier to read, and include hyperlinked references.