Tributes/Testimonials

"The wide range of Swedenborg's mind over the known branches of science is comparable only with that of Leonardo da Vinci".
Everyman's Encyclopaedia (Volume 11 p. 522) 

On an index for Intelligence Quotients, 150 represents "genius" level. Four people have been accredited with figures over 200:

  • Kim Ung-Yong (1963 - ), South Korea;
  • John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), U.K.,
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), Germany; and;
  • Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 - 1772), Sweden

Guinness Book of Records (1973 Edition)

Emanuel Swedenborg is arguably the greatest Spiritual explorer of the Eighteenth Century. He enables us to understand why we were created, why we are alive and what happens to us when we die.


Many distinguished men and women from throughout the world have acknowledged the contribution made by Emanuel Swedenborg to further mankind's understanding of life in all its dimensions. Recently, it was found that even the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was familiar with Swedenborg ideas and incorporated them into some of his music. Chicago lawyer Charles C. Bonney was inspired by Swedenborg's ideas and staged the First World Parliament of Religions. Architects John Wellborn Root (father of the skyscraper), Daniel Burnham (designed the Great White City and the Chicago city plan), and Louis Sullivan were all familiar with Swedenborg and used his spiritual ideas in their work. The tributes presented here demonstrate his impact on every phase of modern life and thought - in the arts, science, philosophy, religion and government. You can read below quotations from the following well-known personalities:
 (mostly in alphabetical order)

Dr Eben Alexander; William Blake; General William Booth; Jorge Luis Borges; Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks; Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Thomas Carlyle; Andrew Carnegie; John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed); Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Alfred Deakin; Arthur Conan Doyle; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Amelita Galli-Curci; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Henry James, Sr.; Carl Jung; Helen Keller; James Tyler Kent; Czeslaw Milosz; Victor Nilsson; Dr. Norman Vincent Peale; Kenneth Ring; George Ripley; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki; Johann August Strindberg; John Greenleaf Whittier; Colin Wilson.

In addition to these famous people, many others are known to have been influenced by him and a fuller list may be obtained from the Swedenborg Association of Australia.


"Swedenborg was one of the world's great geniuses. With his rare intellect and deep spiritual insight he has much to contribute to our modern life".
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Author of The Power of Positive Thinking


"People who have had near-death experiences peek through the door of the afterlife, but Swedenborg explored the whole house."
Kenneth Ring, Author and Founder of the International Association for Near Death Studies


"I acknowledge my profound indebtedness to Emanuel Swedenborg for a richer interpretation of the Bible, and a deeper understanding of Christianity, and a precious sense of the divine presence in the world."
 "Swedenborg's message has given colour and reality and unity to my thought of the life to come; it has exalted my ideas of love, truth, and usefulness; it has been my strongest incitement to overcome my limitations".

Helen Keller, Blind, deaf American Author and Lecturer


"Swedenborg was the first modern scientist to treat heaven as a real place, and the first to try to map it."
Dr Eben Alexander, author of Map of Heaven and Proof of Heaven.


"Swedenborg's visions . . . are the foundation for grand things."
William Blake, English Poet, Painter, and Engraver


"Continue to love me. Aye, let us love, as God would have us love one another, and let us realise, on earth, in spirit, what Swedenborg said when he saw in his vision in heaven, that man and wife there were melted into one angel."
General William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army (in a published letter to his wife)


"Swedenborg . . . No one accepted life more fully, no one investigated it with a passion so great, with the same intellectual love, or with such impatience to learn about it".
Jorge Luis Borges, South American Poet and Novelist (d. 1986)


"I have the profoundest honour for the character and work of Emanuel Swedenborg. I have from time to time gained much from his writings".
Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks, Episcopalian Minister (writer of O Little Town of Bethlehem)


"To my mind the only light that has been cast on the other life is found in Swedenborg's philosophy"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English Poet


"Swedenborg was a man of great and indisputable cultivation, strong mathematical intellect, and the most pious, seraphic turn of mind; a man beautiful, lovable and tragical to me. More truths are confessed in Swedenborg's writings than that of any other man. One of the loftiest minds in the realm of mind. One of the spiritual suns that will shine brighter as the years go on".
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist, historian, and moralist


"I may speak here of another matter which belongs to this same period. A few persons in Allegheny— probably not above a hundred in all— had formed themselves into a Swedenborgian Society, in which our American relatives were prominent. My father attended that church after leaving the Presbyterian, and, of course, I was taken there. My mother, however, took no interest in Swedenborg. Although always inculcating respect for all forms of religion, and discouraging theological disputes, she maintained for herself a marked reserve. Her position might best be defined by the celebrated maxim of Confucius: 'To perform the duties of this life well, troubling not about another, is the prime wisdom.'... I became deeply interested in the mysterious doctrines of Swedenborg, and received the congratulations of my devout Aunt Aitken upon my ability to expound 'spiritual sense.' That dear old woman fondly looked forward to a time when I should become a shining light in the New Jerusalem, and I know it was sometimes not beyond the bounds of her imagination that I might blossom into what she called a 'preacher of the Word.'".
Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, 1920
 Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was an American captain of industry whose philanthropy adapted the Swedenborg's 'doctrine of uses' to the Industrial Age. The son of a poor Scottish immigrant, Andrew Carnegie started out working at humble jobs but through his hard work and acute business insight he eventually formed the giant Carnegie Steel Company in 1892. In 1902 banker J.P. Morgan arranged to buy out Carnegie, making him the world's wealthiest man. In his 'Gospel of Wealth,' Carnegie set forth the idea that the wealthy should spend the latter part of their lives giving away their wealth. Carnegie established a pattern of modern philanthropy followed by later industrialists, and his Carnegie Corporation in New York continues to carry out his philanthropic work today. Carnegie's social conscience was shaped in part by his mentors Matthew Arnold and Herbert Spencer, but he was also influenced by Swedenborg's Doctrine of Uses. As a young man, he attended the Sunday school of the Swedenborgian Church in Pittsburgh and was librarian of that church. Carnegie did not merely give away his wealth - he devoted considerable effort to make certain that his gifts would be put to proper use, an approach that fitted Swedenborg's doctrine to early twentieth century America in a remarkable way.


Swedenborg's books: "Good news right fresh from heaven".
John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed


"As a moralist Swedenborg is above all praise".
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Poet, philosopher, literary, social and theological critic


"My salvation and inspiration come from philosophy a little and religion a great deal, especially from the mystics ancient or modern theosophical. With them my load is lifted and I regain peace, courage, faith. Praise be to the God of Jesus, ... of Swedenborg, of St. Paul."
Alfred Deakin, Australia's second Prime Minister
 For more Deakin quotes on Swedenborg, see here.


"The great Swedish seer Emanuel Swedenborg has some claim to be the father of our new knowledge of supernal matters. When the first rays of the rising sun of spiritual knowledge fell upon the earth, they illuminated the greatest and highest human mind before they shed their light on lesser men. That great mountain peak of mentality was this great religious reformer."
Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer and creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes


"The most remarkable step in the religious history of recent ages is that made by the genius of Swedenborg. These truths passing out of his system into general circulation, are now met with every day, qualifying the views and creeds of all churches, and of men of no church."
 Swedenborg is one of the missoriums and mastodons of literature, not to be measured by whole colleges of ordinary scholars. . . Swedenborg is systematic and respective of the world in every sentence; a colossal soul who lies vast upon our times."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Philosopher


"To me, Swedenborg's literature is an explanation of life - its meaning and purpose - which satisfies that something within us which we already know is only appealed to by the truth."
Amelita Galli-Curci, Italian Soprano


"I am as much inclined as anyone to believe in a world beyond the visible, and I have enough poetic and vital drive that even my own constricted self expands to feel a Swedenborgian spirit world".
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet and dramatist (Author of Faust)


"Emanuel Swedenborg had the sanest and most far-reaching intellect this age has known . . . He grasped with clear and intellectual vision the seminal principles of things"
Henry James, Sr., American Philosopher


"I admire Swedenborg as a great scientist and a great mystic at the same time. His life and work has always been of great interest to me and I read about seven fat volumes of his writings when I was a medical student".
Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist and Psychoanalyst


"All my teaching is founded on that of Hahnemann and of Swedenborg; their teachings correspond perfectly".
James Tyler Kent, nineteenth-century physician, writer and proponent of modern day Homeopathy theory and practice.


"In the history of the rebellion of man against God and the order of nature, Swedenborg stands out as a healer who wanted to break the seals on the sacred books and thus make the rebellion unnecessary".
Czeslaw Milosz, Polish Poet and Novelist; 1980 Nobel Prize winner for literature.


"Emanuel Swedenborg was the most remarkable man whom Sweden has ever brought forth . . . if the theological works of Swedenborg at first were apt to discredit the results of his manifold scientific research in the eyes of those who did not share his theological views, the renown of the greatest religious thinker in later times has outshone the fame of which, as the versatile scholar and philosopher, he was so eminently worthy."
Victor Nilsson, Swedish Historian


"Emanuel Swedenborg: No single individual in the world's history ever encompassed in himself so great a variety of useful knowledge".
Ripley's Believe It or Not


 "In a world in which the voice of conscience too often seems still and small there is need of that spiritual leadership of which Swedenborg was a particular example."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President


"Theological revolutionary, traveler of heaven and hell, . . . great king of the mystical realm, seer unique throughout history, . . . clear-minded scientist, . . . all these make Swedenborg".
Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, Japanese philosopher and Buddhist scholar


"Swedenborg has become my Virgil. Swedenborg's work is one of enormous compass and he has answered all my questions, however presumptuous they may have been. Disquiet soul, suffering heart "Take up and read".
Johann August Strindberg, Novelist, dramatist, poet - Sweden's greatest literary figure.


"His (Swedenborg's) revelations look through all external and outward manifestations to inward realities; which regard all objects in the world of sense only as the types and symbols of the world of spirit; literally unmasking the universe and laying bare the profoundest mysteries of life".
John Greenleaf Whittier, American Poet


"It must be acknowledged that there is something very beautiful and healthy about the Swedenborgian Religion. The feeling of breezy health is the basic reason for its enduring popularity".
Colin Wilson, English Philosopher and Writer