The Ornaments in Swedenborg's Theological First Editions
Jonathan S. Rose, M.Div., Ph.D.


I would define asterisks here as line breaks of less than full width using repeated units that are farther apart from each other than in line ornaments. Swedenborg uses only two types of asterisks: one much like the standard asterisk of today; the other a more decorative, four sided floral asterisk.

Standard asterisks appear thirty-three times. They come with six, eight, or twelve points and appear in strings of varying widths from two to seven asterisks to serve as an even lighter break than a line ornament.

The floral asterisks occur sixty-six times, always in the same special role: introducing memorabilia or narrative accounts of Swedenborg's experiences and distinguishing them from the main text of their chapter.4 Floral asterisks first occur in 1764 to separate the strange experience at the very end of Divine Providence from the work's main text (paragraph 340 subsections 6 and 7). Swedenborg's apologetically claiming that he added the experience to fill the remainder of the page in effect turns this, the first if unlabeled memorabile, into a kind of verbal tailpiece (see under the next heading). After that floral asterisks recur throughout Apocalypse Revealed, Conjugial Love, and True Christian Religion, the last three major works to contain such narrative accounts. The sole variation is the number of floral asterisks per line, which ranges from three, five, or six in True Christian Religion and five for the episode in Divine Providence to seven consistently in both Apocalypse Revealed and Conjugial Love.

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Asterisks 01: London and Amsterdam


Occurs thirty-three times.
AC1.[iii],40,63,74,166,199,199,199,200,200,247,248,248,304,305,628; AC2/VI.6,7,26,55; AC3.214,214,228,235,250,285,417,572,609; AC4.81,101; CL.30; IB.22.

Asterisks 02: Amsterdam


Occurs sixty-six times
DP.213; AR.59,90,120,138,159,184,212,232,265,282,316,340,368,400,416,
439,465,507,532,557,598,623; CL.40,51,73,87,102,117,131,144,160,179,191,
202,218,230,247,262,273,282,295,306,314; TR.14,21,29,38,52,57,81,101,120,

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