Swedenborg and the connection to Blake Group 4





The church that Swedenborg led, New Jerusalem Church, is the only church on record that is known to have had William Blake in attendance.  According to the Esoteric article, “Even when Blake seems to be making purely theological statements, there are inevitable links to be drawn to Swedenborg’s diatribe against the Christian Churches and the way they have duped man into spiritual inaptitude. This dimension is not always expressed with full clarity in Blake’s writing without familiarity with the source texts to which he alludes.” It also states: “There was a widespread tendency among Swedenborgians to turn their prophet’s teaching into a social gospel that fitted a radical and anticlerical outlook of the late eighteenth century.” This tendency can be identified in Blake’s writings throughout Songs of Innocence and Experience.

In an article on Swedenborgs influence, Blake was known to have created paintings based on the writings of Swedenborg. it also states that: “Blake was strongly attracted to Swedenborg’s vision of divine love pervading the universe and giving life to all of creation”. Blake owned several of Swedenborg’s major works and was attracted to the radical ideas and the romantic movement that were prevalent in Swedenborg’s writing. Both Swedenborg and Blake believed in the underlying spiritual force to the world but rejected the ritual and dogma of organized church. Blake still maintained christian values, which were heavy influences in his work but still possessed a opposition to the church and the clergy as he supported the ideas of the church but not the implementation, specifically because he disliked organization of the church.


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