Study Guide

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America - Part 2, Chapter 4 The Man of Two Minds, Section 5 Summary & Analysis

Louis Menand
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Part 2, Chapter 4 The Man of Two Minds, Section 5 Summary

Swedenborg was a religious leader who created his religion after hallucinating in a tavern, after which he claimed to have direct verbal contact with God. Prior to this experience, he was considered a well-known man of science and was a mining engineer expert.

Swedenborgism was a liberal religion that was harmonious with the scientific thought of the day. Emerson enjoyed learning about Swedenborgism and was a follower for a short time. However, Swedenborgism quickly picked up many of the attributes of another system called Mesmerism. The Swedenborgians in the United States tried to keep Mesmerism out of Swedenborgism, but to get new members and retain old ones, Mesmerism soon integrated with Swedenborgism. In fact, hypnotism, psychic healing, and spiritualism all integrated with American Swedenborgism.

Spiritualism grew in believers after...

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This section contains 492 words
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