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Editor’s Preface

Arcana Coelestia, volume 4

Editor’s Preface

This edition of Arcana Coelestia is based on the translation of J. Clowes and his revisers, as further revised by J. F. Potts. The text for this edition was electronically scanned from the Foundation’s Standard Edition. This process has allowed the book to be completely redesigned and set in a new and more readable typeface. Certain stylistic changes have also been introduced. These include modernized spelling and punctuation as well as substituting new words for terms whose meanings have become obscure or have changed since the nineteenth century. Arabic numerals have replaced roman numerals in Bible passages, and certain capitalized words, including pronouns referring to God, have been lowercased to reflect contemporary usage. All these changes have been carefully made in order to make the book easier to read and use while preserving the dignity and power of the original Latin. On the whole, however, the Clowes/Potts translation has not been materially altered. Volume 4 of Arcana Coelestia continues Swedenborg’s verse-by- verse exposition, or commentary, of the biblical text of the book of Genesis. As was the custom in his day, Swedenborg referred to the Psalms as the book of David, and to the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) as the books of Moses. In this volume Swedenborg also continues his practice of inserting topical articles or “continuation” passages between each chapter of the textual exegesis. The page number of the start of each of these continuations is listed in the table of contents. The reader may also wish to read the “Prefatory Notes by the Reviser” in the front volume 1, as it contains further details about the publishing history of this first and largest of Swedenborg’s theological works. It also discloses a critical decision made by Potts regarding his translating of the several words used by Swedenborg to refer to “knowledge.” The reader needs to know that this translation pattern was not followed by other translators of Swedenborg. As with previous printings, the bold numerals in brackets ([2], [3], etc.) indicate divisions of Swedenborg’s longer numbered sections that were added for the convenience of the reader by John Faulkner Potts in his six-volume Swedenborg Concordance (London: Swedenborg Society, 1888–1902).

William Ross Woofenden Sharon, Massachusetts


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