Rebecca K. Esterson

Rebecca Esterson

Rebecca K. Esterson is the Dean of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies and the Dorothea Harvey Professor of Swedenborgian Studies. She earned her PhD from the Graduate Division of Religious Studies at Boston University. She earned her Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School with a focus in world religions, and also studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a visiting graduate student. After receiving her master’s degree, she worked at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions for 9 years where she was able to further develop her interest in comparative studies and interfaith learning. Her teaching and research interests include: Swedenborgian thought and theology, the history of biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, Jewish-Christian relations, eighteenth century intellectual culture, Christian Hebraism, and comparative religious studies.


Selected Publications:

Jewish Allegory in Eighteenth-Century Christian Imagination (Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2023)

“Judge Not? The Pedagogical Puzzle of Right Interpretation and Wrong Interpretation,” in Teaching Theology and Religion (Wiley): Forthcoming.

“Allegory and Religious Pluralism: Biblical Interpretation in the Eighteenth Century,” in Journal of the Bible and Its Reception (De Gruyter, 2018): 111–139.

“What do the Angels Say? Alterity and the Ascents of Emanuel Swedenborg and the Baal Shem Tov,” in Open Theology, vol. 4, no. 1 (De Gruyter, 2018): 414-421.


Online Publications

Sarai Suffers in Pharaoh’s Palace, and Abram Is Rewarded?!,”

Swedenborg’s Eve: On Mutuality, Meaning, and Mirrors,” Swedenborg Foundation Scholarly Blog, December 14, 2020.

Swedenborg and the Present-Day Apocalypse in Blake’s ‘The Everlasting Gospel’” chapter in Foundations for Grand Things: Swedenborg and the Arts, forthcoming, Swedenborg Foundation.

Did Swedenborg Study Kabbalah? Part 1: Comparison of Ideas” and “Did Swedenborg Study Kabbalah? Part 2: Probing His Historical Context,” Swedenborg Foundation Scholarly Blog, May 2016.