&0. Background Notes: Emanuel Swedenborg wrote “Arcana Coelestia”, in Latin, between 1748 and 1753. It was published in London, England, in separate volumes issued from 1749-1756. The publisher was John Lewis.
The work is a thorough, systematic exegesis of the Books of Genesis and Exodus from the Bible, explaining the inner meaning of those ancient texts. Its full title is: Arcana Caelestia : quae in Scriptura Sacra seu Verbo Domini sunt detecta ; nempe quae in Genesi et Exodo uno cum mirabilibus quae visa sunt in mundo spirituum et in caelo angelorum.
The First Latin Edition was proofread by Swedenborg, and a rough draft of most of it (not Volume 1) is extant.
A Second Latin Edition was edited by Dr. Johann Friedrich Immanuel Tafel, in the mid 1800s, in Tübingen, Germany.
The Third Latin Edition, which is the source of the text presented here, was published over a period of 24 years, from 1949 until 1973, by the Swedenborg Society in London. It was edited by a series of editors, as detailed here:
Volume 1. Geneseos, cap. I-XV (n. 1-1885). Published in 1949. Edited by P. H. Johnson, assisted by E. C. Mongredien.
Volume 2. Geneseos, cap. XVI-XXI (n. 1886-2759). Published in 1952. Edited by P. H. Johnson, assisted by E. C. Mongredien.
Volume 3. Geneseos, cap. XXII-XXX (n. 2760-4055). Published in 1953. Edited by P. H. Johnson, assisted by E. C. Mongredien.
Volume 4. Geneseos, cap. XXXI-XL (n. 4056-5190). Published in 1956. Edited by P. H. Johnson, assisted by E. C. Mongredien.
Volume 5. Geneseos, cap. XLI-L (n. 5191-6626). Published in 1961. Edited by E. C. Mongredien.
Volume 6. Exodi, cap. I-XV (n. 6627-8386). Published in 1968. Edited by John E. Elliott, Norman Ryder and Erik Sandström.
Volume 7. Exodi, cap. XVI-XXIV (n. 8387-9442). Published in 1971. Edited by John E. Elliott, assisted by Norman Ryder.
Volume 8. Exodi cap. XXV-XL (n. 9443-10837). Published in 1973. Edited by John E. Elliott, assisted by Norman Ryder.
The text of the Third Latin Edition was scanned and OCR’d by the STAIRS Project at the Academy of the New Church, and it was included in a desktop software package, NewSearch. It was later used in a related online version at www.heavenlydoctrines.org. The scanning technology available at the time didn’t support Hebrew characters or Greek characters, or italic text, so those features were not preserved in the transition from print to online versions of this edition. Hopefully a future re-scanning and/or editing will help remedy that.
The New Christian Bible Study Project received the text and permission to use it from the Academy of the New Church and the Swedenborg Society. We have imported it into our database and cross-linked it to its many scripture references and internal cross-references, making it widely accessible and easy to compare with other translations.
The editors of the Third Latin Edition, as they worked to compare the manuscript and the previous Latin additions, made more than 24,000 footnotes. In the printed edition these footnotes used a set of abbreviations to save space, but these abbreviations - while of great use to Swedenborg scholars and translators - are somewhat difficult for more casual Latin readers. To reduce the difficulty, the New Christian Bible Study Project has opted to convert the abbreviations back into a less coded, and hopefully more accessible, set of footnotes. Given the large number of footnotes, the automation of the decoding process, and the difficulty in interpreting some of the abbreviations, there may be errors or notes that don’t read smoothly. If, as a user, you encounter these, we would welcome suggested corrections.
Swedenborg used Roman numerals for citing chapter numbers in the Word. The editors at the New Christian Bible Study Project have also opted to convert these chapter numbers to using Arabic numbers, for increased clarity and usability.