Just Announced: Academic Conference on Swedenborg and the Arts

Organizers have just announced the first-ever academic conference on Emanuel Swedenborg and his impact on the visual and literary arts. The conference will be held June 6–9, 2017 on the campus of Bryn Athyn College in Bryn Athyn, PA.

The three-and-a-half-day conference will go beyond questions of historical influence to examine how artists across many disciplines—from visual arts such as painting and sculpture to literature, music, and beyond—translated Swedenborg’s theological vision into aesthetic presentation. What are the similarities and differences in the ways that artists like William Blake, Honoré de Balzac, George Inness, Czeslaw Milosz, and Jorge Luis Borges responded to Swedenborg’s thought? And what does Swedenborg’s impact on the arts suggest about the broader relationship between religion, science, and the aesthetic?

The conference lineup has not yet been established, but there will be a call for papers and panel proposals on a wide range of topics, including Swedenborg and the arts in the eighteenth century; the iconography of the engravings and illustrations in Swedenborg’s first Latin editions; Swedenborg’s impact on individual artists or movements; Swedenborg, the arts, and esotericism; Swedenborg and specific artistic media (architecture, sculpture, poetry, novels); Swedenborg in contemporary art; and the arts in the New Church.

The Swedenborg Foundation is proud to co-sponsor this event, along with the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Bryn Athyn College, Glencairn Museum, the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and the Swedenborg Society in London. The event organizers are Massimo Introvigne, managing director of CESNUR; Jane Williams-Hogan, professor of social science at Bryn Athyn College; and Devin Zuber, assistant professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

For more information or to sign up for e-mail updates, visit the conference website at https://swedenborgartsconference.wordpress.com.

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