We are pleased to announce a major international conference on the Scandinavian scientist, mystic, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and his substantial impact on the visual, musical, theatrical, and literary arts. Taking place between June 6-9, 2017 on the campus of Bryn Athyn College (Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, USA), the three-and-a-half day conference represents an unprecedented collaboration between academic institutions, research centers, and publishing houses related to the academic study of Swedenborg. The conference will be the first of its kind that is specifically devoted to situating Swedenborg’s place in the history of art, literature, and related disciplines.

More than merely tracing the historical dimensions of influence, the 2017 conference aims to uncover the particular dynamics of exchange that lie between various painters, poets, sculptors, writers, musicians and filmmakers and their respective creative encounters with Swedenborg. What are the continuities and discontinuities in these disparate reception histories, which range from William Blake, to Honoré de Balzac, to George Inness, to Czeslaw Milosz, and Jorge Luis Borges (to name but a few)? Such cross-cultural (and temporal) heterogeneity suggests how the case of Swedenborg and the arts might reveal something broader about the constitutive relationship between religion, science, and the aesthetic.

A general call-for-papers and announcement of plenary speakers is forthcoming; interested persons can also contact the conference coordinators ( and subscribe to updates from this conference website.

Sponsoring Institutions include: CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions); Bryn Athyn College;  the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California; the Swedenborg Foundationthe Swedenborg Society of London; and the Glencairn Museum.

Primary conference organizers are Jane Williams-Hogan (Bryn Athyn College), Devin Zuber (GTU), and Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR).


2 thoughts on “Announcement

  1. You don’t seem to have invited any of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies Faculty. They are BRILLIANT and relevant for the 21st century
    Reverend Robert Leas


    1. Dear Bob, thanks for the comment (and plugging for the CSS)! This is Devin writing — not to worry, the Center is fully a co-sponsor of the event. It’s really a unique collaboration, one of the first of its kind, a partnering between Bryn Athyn College, the Center at the GTU, the Swedenborg Society of London, the Swedenborg Foundation in West Chester, and CESNUR. Expect more announcements soon about further tie-ins from all of these. It would be great if you could make the conference itself, and hope all is well.


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