Emanuel Swedenborg (help·info) (born Emanuel Swedberg; January 29, 1688 – March 29, 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741 at the age of fifty-three he entered into a spiritual phase in which he eventually began to experience dreams and visions beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, where he claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity. He claimed that the Lord had opened his eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, and talk with angels, demons and other spirits. For the remaining 28 years of his life, he wrote and published 18 theological works, of which the best known was Heaven and Hell (1758), and several unpublished theological works.
Swedenborg explicitly rejected the common explanation of the Trinity as a Trinity of Persons, which he said was not taught in the early Christian Church. Instead he explained in his theological writings how the Divine Trinity exists in One Person, in One God, the Lord Jesus Christ, which he said is taught in Colossians 2:9. Swedenborg also rejected the doctrine of salvation through faith alone, since he considered both faith and charity necessary for salvation, not one without the other. The purpose of faith, according to Swedenborg, is to lead a person to a life according to the truths of faith, which is charity, as is taught in 1 Corinthians 13:13 and James 2:20.
Swedenborg's theological writings have elicited a range of responses. Toward the end of his life, small reading groups formed in England and Sweden to study the truth they saw in his teachings. Several writers were influenced by him, including William Blake (though he ended up renouncing him), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, August Strindberg, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Baudelaire, Adam Mickiewicz, Balzac, William Butler Yeats, Sheridan Le Fanu, Jorge Luis Borges, Carl Jung and Helen Keller. Other notable figures who were adherents to his teachings were the theologian Henry James Sr., the artist George Inness, and mid-Western pioneer and nurseryman Johnny Appleseed.