April 13, 2017 § 2 Comments

Hypozeuxis” is an odd word. It showed up as the “Word of the Day” at Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hypozeuxis). Hypozeuxis is a rhetorical device. It when a writer (or speaker) uses a series of parallel clauses, each of which has its own subject and predicate. 

The example in dictionary.com was from Julius Caesar:

Veni, vidi, vici” or “I came; I saw; I conquered”

The Lord also uses this rhetorical device in the Heavenly Doctrines:

I am well aware of the fact that many people will say that nobody can possibly speak to spirits or angels as long as he is living in the body, and that many will call it delusion. Some will say that I have spread these ideas around so as to win people’s trust, while others will say something different again. But none of this deters me; for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt. (AC 68; Elliot)

nam vidi, audivi, sensi (AC 68; Latin)





§ 2 Responses to Hypozeuxis

  • Lee says:

    Hi Bill,

    I don’t believe for a second that when Swedenborg wrote vidi, audivi, sensi he didn’t have firmly in mind Caesar’s earlier Veni, vidi, vici.

    At that point the New Century Edition offers a scholarly footnote about the increasing importance of empirical observation and inductive reasoning in Swedenborg’s age, and in his own writings.

    But Swedenborg himself, I’m convinced, was embedding in his writing a flashing neon hyperlink to Caesar’s pithy, punchy, alliterative, and of course, very famous line. No educated Latin reader of Swedenborg’s day could have failed to make the connection. And as if to ensure that no one, not even the dull of mind, could fail to notice, Swedenborg starts it off with the same letter as, and the second word of, Caesar’s line.

    Though the cognitive content is all about empirical observation, as the NCE note-writers say, the emotive content is all about conquering the enemy of skepticism, ridicule, and eventually, personal attack that Swedenborg knew would inevitably follow upon publication of this, his first theological work to see print.

    Swedenborg came, saw, and conquered all enemies and objections, both within himself and in the world, when he saw, heard, and felt the realities of the spiritual world. And so, like Caesar—or better, like the rider on the white horse—he went forth forward conquering, and to conquer!

  • Thanks Lee. Excellent comment. I had no doubt that Swedenborg had Julius Caesar’s words in mind when he wrote his line. However your point about why he wrote what he did, and its implications had not occurred to me. Thanks again.

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