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Hitschmann, E. (1949). Swedenborg's Paranoia.. Am. Imago, 6(1):45-50.

(1949). American Imago, 6(1):45-50

Swedenborg's Paranoia.

Edward Hitschmann

Taking for granted that Swedenborg suffered from religious paranoia, all the following facts are explained: a famous scholar and worker in the realm of Natural History, one day, in the fifth decade of his life, he was called by the Lord to interpret to mankind the inner meaning of the Bible. He abandoned Science, resigned his offices, and devoted himself completely to these suprnatural phenomena and instructions, and has recorded these revelations extensively in a hundred volumes.

A complete psycho-analytical investigation of Swedenborg has not hitherto been undertaken, may be chiefly owing to the extent of his works, most of which have been translated into German. It is interesting to note that even the short data taken from a book by a writer not especially interested in psychiatry, present an instructive picture; this can later be completed through more copious data.

I quote, now, passages, almost unchanged, which are significant to a psycho-analyst.

Swedenborg (1688-1772) was the son of a Protestant Bishop, who, as a clever theologian and a man of honest though hot-blooded character, enjoyed unlimited respect. The bishop was said to profess mystical ideas, and to have planted in the boy the seeds of his later mysticotheosophical speculations. The supposition may be right; Swedenborg himself tells a friend his ideas. From his fourth till his tenth year, he was full of thought about God, about the redemption and the spiritual condition of men.

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