Theologians: The New Jerusalem

Who was the most brilliant mind of the 18th century? A good case could be made for Newton, Voltaire, Samuel Johnson—or for Emanuel Swedenborg, the polymathic scientist and seer whose fame lingers on not just in literature but in churches that honor his writing as the vehicle for the second coming of God's word.

Born in 1688, the son of a bishop in Sweden's state church, Swedenborg was a kind of Nordic Da Vinci. He invented a machine gun and a fire extinguisher, first explained to the world the phenomenon of phosphorescence and the function of the ductless glands, devised...

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