This is the second of three sections of an essay by Curtis Childs on the significance of Emanuel Swedenborg's work. Start with Section 1: Why We Are Here. Finally, turn to Section 3: Swedenborg's Influence. - Editor.
Perhaps one of Swedenborg’s most striking revisions of Christian thought centers around what is today called the Holy Bible. While Jesus Christ’s use of parables to teach is well documented in the New Testament, Swedenborg lays out, especially in his multi-volume work Secrets of Heaven, an extremely thorough, systematic, and extensive exegesis illustrating the belief that the entire Bible is, in fact, an allegory. Swedenborg’s interpretation relies on “correspondences,” the idea that the places, characters, and even the words appearing in Biblical text simultaneously represent aspects of God, humanity’s relationship to the divine, and a map of each of our personal spiritual journeys. The actual concept, though consistent, is quite complex, as one scholar studying Swedenborg’s Secrets of Heaven noted, “unfortunately, any straightforward definition of correspondence fails to capture the incredible richness of the Swedenborgian concept” (Woofenden 47).