Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scandinavian da Vinci
This is a highly readable academic treatise on the life and work of one of the majorpioneers of modern Western spiritual thought. It was during childhood that Swedenborg began controlling his breath and focusing his mind during prayer. By the time he was an adult, he was highly skilled at using the technique to alter his brain chemistry and shift his consciousness into a...
Published on April 13, 2012 by Anna from InannaWorks

versus
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Christian Beware
I grew up in the 'Church of the New Jerusalem' or "Swedenbogianism". It is a cult. Similar to Mormonism in that the writings of Swedenborg are further revelation take priority over the bible. His writings are in old English with long run on sentences. This book is more of a biography of his life. However, I place caution on anything to do with this man. His is a...
Published 8 months ago by Linda Opines


Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scandinavian da Vinci, April 13, 2012
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
This is a highly readable academic treatise on the life and work of one of the majorpioneers of modern Western spiritual thought. It was during childhood that Swedenborg began controlling his breath and focusing his mind during prayer. By the time he was an adult, he was highly skilled at using the technique to alter his brain chemistry and shift his consciousness into a deep meditative state. Inner doors opened for him and he pursued them as earnestly as he pursued the rational, scientific study which defined his early professional career. In mid-life he experienced a full-blown spiritual crisis, similar to those experienced by many of the Saints. Afterwards, he communicated with angels and the dead, talking and writing about his encounters as if they were common, every day occurrences.

New Agers and present day occultists might be more familiar with names like Jung, Yeats, Goethe, Poe, de Balzac, and Yeats, but Swedenborg predated all of them, and echoes of Swedenborg's ideas permeate their work.

Lachman paints a literary portrait of a man who was at the heart of modern esoteric thinking. His rendering puts the roots of the modern alternative spiritual movement in the context of the society out of which it was born. Paired with Lachman's earlier work, Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung's Life and Teachings, we have a clear picture of the foundation of a spiritual shift that is only now beginning to blossom fully.

(InannaWorks.com received a free review copy of this book.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Introduction to a Giant in Modern Spirituality, June 16, 2012
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
The first thing to say about Gary Lachman's new book is: This is not an official publication of any branch of Swedenborg's movement. Of course, that movement is tiny in this new millennium: less than 10,000 adherents in the main branches according to one estimate. The movement does sponsor some websites, some official publications and occasional conferences, but this is not a denomination like the Catholic Church that can support multiple semi-official publishing houses.

Lachman is a former rock star and, over many years, has become a leading author on esoteric branches of spirituality. His new book is published by the most respected imprint in alternative spirituality today: Tarcher-Penguin, a publishing division headed by scholar, author and editor Mitch Horowitz. That's not intended as a slight against smaller publishers in alternative spirituality, but Penguin's size (the second largest trade book publisher in the world) and Tarcher's record for selecting and carefully editing alternative books puts the imprint in a category all its own. I make this point to underline that, even if you haven't heard of Lachman's work before, this is a reliable overview of Swedenborg's legacy and influence. And, in Lachman's book, you will find an entirely different approach to Swedenborg's life than you would find if you managed to visit a gathering of New Church followers today. Lachman's short introduction for general readers focuses, partly like a journalist and partly like a sociologist of religion, on influential themes in Swedenborg's spiritual work.

I highly recommend Lachman's book, which does a great job in less than 200 pages of sorting out key themes in the life and work of this absolutely amazing religious innovator. Among the many roles in Swedenborg's life: He was a biblical scholar, psychic, scientist, inventor, statesman, theologian, traveler and poet--not to mention a prolific writer of prose. "With so many Swedenborgs, so many ways to approach him, and so many works from his own hand, it is understandable that the average reader interested in knowing more about him would find it difficult to know where to begin," Lachman writes. That is the point of this brief book. Lachman is not a member of the church himself, he explains, but he is a delightful companion in introducing us to Swedenborg.

Why should anyone care about a man whose name is nearly forgotten (even in courses on comparative religion)? From Lachman's book: "It is difficult to imagine modern Western alternative spirituality without the influence of Swedish scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Every movement in alternative spirituality--from mental healing and Spiritualism to New Age mysticism and the 12-step recovery movement--owes an immeasurable debt to the ideas he exploded upon the Western world."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Buddha of the North", April 22, 2012
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
If you know Gary Lachman's writings, you will not be surprised that his brief book on Swedenborg is well-researched and very readable. It is fewer than 100 pages long, so you will be disappointed if you are looking for the complete life of "The Buddha of the North". Basically, this book is an introduction, a bit more in depth than D.T Suzuki's study, but not by much. However, Lachman keeps the book interesting throughout. He explains some of Swedenborg's ideas clearly, offers some excerpts from the Scandinavian mystic's writings, and details the trajectory of this visionary's life--from his successful career as a scientist, through his period of crisis and troubling dreams, to his journey to Heaven and Hell and his communion with spirits, angels, demons, and with Christ Himself. Lachman does not write from the point of view of a follower or "Swedenborgian"; he entertains the understandable questions of the skeptics, yet he is very much open to the possibility that Swedenborg was neither mad nor a con man--that he was a mystic who visited other realms and wrote voluminously about his findings. I only wish the book was longer and more in-depth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Bio of Swedenborg & Intro to his Works, July 22, 2012
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
This is a short biography and discussion of Swedenborg's life and work.

Modern writers, philosophers and psychologists cite him as providing a foundation for their works - Carl Jung, Henry James, W.B. Yeats are a few who further explored his themes. Despite his great influence, he has remained an obscure historical figure.

This book does not address the reasons for omission of Swedenborg from the anthologies and academic texts that would give his ideas a wider audience. It gives an introductory sketch and the reader can draw his/her own conclusions.

This book is for those who who want a brief introduction to this scientist/philosopher.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Biography of a Spiritual Intellectual, May 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
This biography of the life and ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg was highly engagingly written. The book is not filled with irrelevant details, and yet it includes some of the most important details about Swedenborg's life and his writings. I found the book to be highly readable, unlike some biographies that bury the reader in details and other technicalities.

This biography showed that Swedenborg had very substantial struggles in his life - as is expected for human life. Questions as to the nature and origin of Swedenborg's "visions" and visits to Heaven and Hell, etc. must, for me, remain unanswered. As an advocate of the writings and many of the ideas of Swedenborg, I nevertheless feel compelled to be skeptical about much of what he wrote about the nature of Heaven, Hell, God as a person (with a body), etc.

I'd recommend this biography to anyone who has interest in the life and accomplishments of a scientific thinker (of genius rank?) turned spiritual seer, namely Swedenborg. While this book is brief (around 135 pages for the edition I read), it does contain enough vital information to give the reader a lot of insight into who the man Swedenborg really was, as well as what "made him tick" - to the best extent that this can be humanly deciphered. For those interested in learning more about Emanuel Swedenborg, this book is recommended - as a rather easy and engaging read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!, November 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great book! Easy to read, entertaining, and full of the anecdotes that made Swedenborg famous in the esoteric and mystical circles of readers. I was left wanting more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable Context, August 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
What I love about Lachman's books is they give a historic and esoteric context from which to understand Swedenborg's life and work. Lachman is at the same time objective and imaginative in his description.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Christian Beware, March 30, 2014
This review is from: Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas (Paperback)
I grew up in the 'Church of the New Jerusalem' or "Swedenbogianism". It is a cult. Similar to Mormonism in that the writings of Swedenborg are further revelation take priority over the bible. His writings are in old English with long run on sentences. This book is more of a biography of his life. However, I place caution on anything to do with this man. His is a dangerous mystical non-Christian religion. See here for more info. [...]

Although it is said that "his spiritual eyes were opened" and he was able see into the "Spiritual world", it is more likely he had a mental illness and was influenced by evil spirits than by "The Christ".

His teachings directly oppose the teachings of Jesus.

Run away! Don't read anything by or about this man.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas
Swedenborg: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas by Gary Lachman (Paperback - April 12, 2012)
$16.95 $13.72
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.