James Lawrence

Dean, Center for Swedenborgian Studies

Faculty Associate in Spirituality and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Pacific School of Religion

Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union

James Lawrence

Through historical and cultural studies of religion I support students developing expertise in understanding and interpreting often under-valued currents in the margins of the history of religions—specializing in New Religious Movements, Western Esoteric traditions, Christian heterodoxy, and mysticism studies generally. I promote engagement through a Ricoeurian hermeneutic that: executes contextual analysis of figures, texts, movements, and practices in these broad currents in religious cultural history; explores the spirituality of the world within these figures and movements; and develops skill in constructing forward-looking discourse and interpretations on these histories.


PhD, Graduate Theological Union (2012)
DMin, Graduate Theological Foundation (1991)
MDiv equiv., Swedenborg School of Religion (1984)
BA, University of Texas at Austin (1978)

Curriculum Vitae


  • Christian Spirituality
  • New Religious Movements
  • Western Esoteric Traditions
  • Biblical Hermeneutics
  • Emanuel Swedenborg
  • Sport, Culture, and Spirituality


  • “Slavery in the American Context: Wadstöm, Swedenborgians and an Abolitionist Myth,” in The Moment Is Now: Carl Bernhard Wadström’s Voice on Human Rights and the Abolition of Slavery, ed. Anders Hallengren, Swedenborg Foundation Press, forthcoming.
  • Introduction to Revelation Unveiled, a new translation of Swedenborg’s two-volume commentary on the Book of Revelation, Swedenborg Foundation Press, forthcoming.
  • Introduction to Swedenborg, A Hermetic Philosopher (1859) by Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Swedenborg Foundation Press, forthcoming.
  • Principles in Play: Essays in Honor of George Dole, editor. Berkeley: Studia Swedenborgiana Press, 2010.
  • “Swedenborgian Spirituality,” in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.
  • “All in the Family: Reading a Swedenborgian Pluralism in the High Christology of John 14:1-7,” Studia Swedenborgiana, 2003.


Comparative Mysticism
New Religious Movements
Western Esoteric Traditions
History of Christian Spirituality
Protestant Mysticism