Darwin-L Message Log 5:211 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<5:211>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sat Jan 29 17:16:41 1994

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 1994 18:27:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 29 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro


1688: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG is born at Stockholm, Sweden.  Swedenborg will grow
up in Uppsala and will study humanities at Uppsala University.  His interests
will soon turn to the sciences, and he will travel to London where he will
study mathematics, astronomy, and geology in association with Edmund Halley
and John Woodward.  In 1716 Swedenborg will be appointed an assessor for the
Swedish Board of Mines, and will establish a short-lived scientific journal,
_Daedalus hyperboreus_, the first journal of its kind in Sweden.  Swedenborg's
researches in cosmogeny will lead him to argue in _Om jordenes och planeternas
gang och stand_ (_On the Course and Position of the Earth and the Planets_,
1718) that the earth had orbited the sun at a faster rate in earlier times.
Entering the debate about the geological history of Scandinavia in 1719,
Swedenborg will marshal evidence from geology and biogeography to argue in
_Om watnens hogd och forra werldens starcka ebb och flod_ (_On the Level of
the Seas and the Great Tides in Former Times_) that Sweden had previously been
covered entirely by water and had risen up out of the sea.  Always a grand and
wide-ranging thinker who maintined an active interest in theological as well
as scientific problems, Swedenborg will increasingly come to suffer from
hallucinations and delusions, almost certainly brought about by severe manic-
depression.  The religious interpretations he will give to these experiences
will lead him to abandon his scientific work and devote himself entirely to
theology and prophecy.  He will die in March of 1772 and be buried in the
Uppsala Cathedral, a few steps from the site where his countryman Linnaeus
will be buried six years later.  The religious followers Swedenborg will win
during his later years will establish The Church of the New Jerusalem in 1787
to keep his spiritual doctrines alive.

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