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Arcana Cœlestia

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The Arcana Cœlestia, quae in Scriptura Sacra seu Verbo Domini sunt, detecta, usually abbreviated as Arcana Cœlestia (Heavenly Mysteries or Secrets of Heaven) or under its Latin variant, Arcana Cælestia, is the first and largest work published by Emanuel Swedenborg in his theological period. It was written and published in Neo-Latin, in eight volumes, one volume per year, from 1749 to 1756. It consists of an exposition of the spiritual sense of the books of Genesis and Exodus, according to the doctrine of correspondence (theology), and demonstrated by many supporting quotations from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. While not denying the historicity of the stories of the Patriarchs (Bible) and The Exodus from Egypt, it explains them as describing symbolically the process of spiritual growth and struggles in each individual person. What follows is the opening paragraph of Arcana Coelestia Volume 1, and therefore the opening statement of the whole corpus of theological work that Swedenborg claimed was revealed to him. From the mere letter of the Word of the Old Testament no one would ever discern the fact that this part of the Word contains deep secrets of heaven, and that everything within it both in general and in particular bears reference to the Lord, to His heaven, to the church, to religious belief, and to all things connected therewith; for from the letter or sense of the letter all that anyone can see is that ̶ to speak generally ̶ everything therein has reference merely to the external rites and ordinances of the Jewish Church. Yet the truth is that everywhere in that Word there are internal things which never appear at all in the external things except a very few which the Lord revealed and explained to the Apostles; such as that the sacrifices signify the Lord; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem signify heaven ̶ on which account they are called the Heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem ̶ and that Paradise has a similar signification. (Arcana Cœlestia #1)
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original title: Arcana Cœlestia quæ in Scriptura Sacra, seu Verbo Domini sunt, detecta
date of publication: 1756
genre: exegesis
main subject: Christian theology, Book of Genesis, Exodus

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