Reading an article on Emanuel Swedenborg, I came across the following fact:

It should be noted, however, that Corinthians is not included in the list of books that, according to Swedenborg, constitute the divinely inspired Biblical canon. (Source: Heaven and Hell (Swedenborg), on Wikipedia)

What list of books did, according to Swedenborg, constitute divinely inspired biblical canon?

  • I've added a source for the quote. Incidentally, the Wikipedia article is wrong about Swedenborg not being influenced by 1 Corinthians. Swedenborg grew up as the son of a Lutheran bishop; he was steeped in the Epistles, along with the rest of the Protestant Bible, from an early age. He was certainly influenced by them even if later in life he no longer viewed them as part of the Word of God. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) listed the books that he considers to be the Word of God ("divinely inspired Biblical canon," in the words of the question) in three places: Arcana Coelestia ("Secrets of Heaven") #10325, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine #266, and The White Horse #16.

Here is the listing from Arcana Coelestia #10325:

The books of the Word are all those which have the internal sense; books which do not have it are not the Word. The books of the Word in the Old Testament are: The five Books of Moses; the Book of Joshua; the Book of Judges; the two Books of Samuel; the two Books of Kings; the Psalms of David; and the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. And in the New Testament they are: The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; and the Book of Revelation.

The other two listings are copied from this listing in Arcana Coelestia, with only minor variations in wording. The books listed are the same in all three places.

Here are the books in list form:

Old Testament:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • Psalms
  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

New Testament:

  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Revelation

In the Old Testament, the books included are all those in the Jewish Law (Torah) and Prophets (Nevi'im), as mentioned by Jesus in the Gospels, with the addition of Psalms, Lamentations, and Daniel from the Jewish Ketuvim, or "Writings." (Re: Jesus' reference to the Scriptures that testify of him, see Luke 24:27, 44.)

In the New Testament, the books included are those in which the life and teachings of Jesus Christ himself are given (the four Gospels) and "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (see Revelation 1:1).

Swedenborg did not reject the rest of the books of the Protestant Bible. He considered them "good books of the church" (see link below). However, he saw them as historical, instructional, and doctrinal writings rather than as divinely inspired books of the Word of God. For his view of the Acts and Epistles specifically, see "Third Letter of Emanuel Swedenborg to Dr. Beyer," reproduced in Documents Concerning Swedenborg, R.L. Tafel, Ed. London: Swedenborg Society, 1877, Volume II, Part I page 240.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .