The Later Prose and Notebooks



Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit is Coleridge’s principal attack upon Bibliolatry, that unthinking reverence for the Bible which offends the rights of reason and rejects interpretation by means of an external frame of reference. His devotion to Scripture arises from an appeal to the whole experience of man, the Bible received inasmuch as it finds him ‘at greater depths’ of his being, bringing with it ‘an irresistible evidence of its having proceeded from the Holy Spirit’.1 Revelation must be authenticated in man’s human essence. ‘Make a man feel the want of it; rouse him, if you can, to the self-knowledge of his need of it.’2 The first part of this chapter will examine how, in the task of reflection and self- discovery, man necessarily employs his faculties of reason and will in responding to divine initiative. The authentication of revelation, therefore, is the assent in a new and objective form to that to which he is already subjectively related.3


Opus Maximum Great Work Marginal Note Christian Doctrine Polar Logic 
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    See Huw Parry Owen, ‘The Theology of Coleridge’, Critical Quarterly, 4 (1962) 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The texts used for these works by Kant and Fichte will be the translations by T. M. Greene and H. H. Hudson, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (New York, 1960), and by Garrett Green (of the second edition of 1793), Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (Cambridge, 1978), respectively; cited henceforth as Religion and Attempt.Google Scholar
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    CN, III 4005. See also Aurel Kolnai, ‘The Thematic Primacy of Moral Evil’, Philosophical Quarterly, VI (1956) 27–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Friend(CC), I, pp. 154–61: The essay on ‘Reason and Understanding’, ‘the leading thought of which’, wrote Coleridge, ‘I remember to have read in the works of a continental Philosopher’ (p. 154). He refers to Jacobi, David Hume … oder Idealismus und Realismus: Werke, vol. 2 (Leipzig, 1815) pp. 8–17; Von den Göttlichen DingenGoogle Scholar
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    T. A. Rixner, Handbuch der Geschichten der Philosophie (1823), trans. and quoted by Lovejoy, op. cit., p. 55.Google Scholar
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    Emil L. Fackenheim, ‘Kant and Radical Evil’, University of Toronto Quarterly, 23 (1954) pp. 350–1.Google Scholar
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    Elinor Shaffer, ‘Metaphysics of Culture: Kant and Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 31 (1970) 199–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Shaffer, op. cit., 212. See also Luther, The Bondage of the Will (1525), trans. J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston (London, 1957) p. 270: ‘And I do not accept or tolerate that middle way [mediocritatem] which Erasmus … recommends to me, namely to allow a very little to free will, so that the contradictions of Scripture … may be more easily removed.’Google Scholar
  34. 101.
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    Laurence S. Lockridge, Coleridge the Moralist (Ithaca, NY, 1977) pp. 25, 258–9. The concluding phrase Lockridge quotes from the Opus Maximum MS in the Victorian University Library, Toronto. OM, B3, ff. 166–71.Google Scholar

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© David Jasper 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hatfield CollegeDurhamUK

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