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Conclusion: Inspiration and Revelation

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Abstract

Thus wrote Mary Wamock in an article published in Theology in November 1980, entitled ‘Imagination Aesthetic and Religious’. This study has sought to trace in Coleridge’s writings his endeavours to perceive the nature of divine revelation in his experience of poetic inspiration and creativity. His habits of self-reflection prompted his insights into the psychology of belief, and his concern for language as a poet led him to a concern for the nature of ‘God-language’ in theology and religious discourse. This final chapter is not so much a conclusion in a formal sense, as it does not attempt to draw together and sum up the arguments of those which precede it. Rather, it seeks to illustrate the continuing importance of those matters which concerned Coleridge, as a Christian thinker who worked primarily through the categories of literature and poetry. Its approach is not historical, nor does it attempt to describe writers and theologians who have, in some way, been directly influenced by Coleridge,2 not least because, invariably, Coleridge is greater than any example given, slipping through its confines with an elusive abundance of creativity.3

Keywords

Literary Criticism Natural Theology Religious Discourse Natural Knowledge Divine Revelation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Mary Warnock, ‘Imagination – Aesthetic and Religious’, Theology, LXXXIII (1980) 404.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For example, A. M. Allchin, ‘The Theological Vision of the Oxford Movement’, in Allchin and John Coulson (eds), The Rediscovery of Newman: An Oxford Symposium (London, 1967) pp. 56–7.Google Scholar
  3. O. W. Jones, Isaac Williams and His Circle (London, 1971) pp. 145–7, uses Allchin’s work.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    See, for example, on E. B. Pusey, Alf Härdelin, The Tractarian Understanding of the Eucharist (Uppsala, 1965) pp. 135–6.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Austin Farrer, ‘Revelation’, in Basil Mitchell (ed.), Faith and Logic: Oxford Essays in Philosophical Theology (London, 1957) pp. 84–107.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Austin Farrer, The Glass of Vision (London, 1948) p. ix.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    H. D. Lewis, ‘Our Experience of God’ (London, 1970) p. 156.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For another discussion of the nature of divinely authorized images and stories, see W. A. Whitehouse, ‘R. B. Braithwaite as an Apologist for Religious Belief’, in Whitehouse, The Authority of Grace: Essays in Response to Karl Barth, ed. Ann Loades (Edinburgh, 1981) pp. 137–44.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    See Huw Parry Owen, ‘The Theology of Coleridge’, Critical Quarterly, 4 (1962) 60–1.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Helen Gardner, The Limits of Literary Criticism (Oxford, 1956) pp. 25–6.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    David Pym, The Religious Thought of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Gerrards Cross, 1978) p. 70.Google Scholar
  12. 21.
    In F. F. Bruce (ed.), Promise and Fulfilment; repr. in Austin Farrer, Interpretation and Belief ed. Charles C. Conti (London, 1976) pp. 39–53.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    See, for example, M. Jadwiga Swiatecka, The Idea of the Symbol (Cambridge, 1980) p. 65.Google Scholar
  14. 25.
    Frank Kermode, ‘The Structures of Fiction’, Modern Language Notes, 84 (1969) 891–915.Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    Helen Gardner, In Defence of the Imagination, the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1979–80 (Oxford, 1982) p. 114.Google Scholar
  16. 29.
    Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative, the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1977–8 (Cambridge, Mass., 1978) pp. 63–4.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    John Coulson, review of In Defence of the Imagination, in Theology, 86 (1983) 71.Google Scholar
  18. 31.
    Terence Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics (London, 1977) p. 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 33.
    Thomas Carlyle, The Life of John Sterling (1851) Part I, Ch. 8, in Alan Shelston (ed.), Thomas Carlyle: Selected Writings (Harmondsworth, 1971) p. 317.Google Scholar
  20. 35.
    F. D. Maurice, The Kingdom of Christ (London, 1883) dedication to the 2nd edn, vol. 1, p. xi.Google Scholar
  21. 36.
    H. D. Traill, Coleridge (1884, London, 1909) pp. 205–6.Google Scholar
  22. 37.
    George Watson, The Literary Critics: A Study of English Descriptive Criticism (1962; rev. edn Harmondsworth, 1964) p. 130.Google Scholar
  23. 38.
    McFarland, Coleridge and the Pantheist Tradition (Oxford, 1969) pp. 142, 218, 231, 236, 244, 379–80, etc; and his Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin (Princeton, NJ, 1981) pp. 135–6, 281, 402–6, etc.Google Scholar
  24. 39.
    Paul Tillich, Theology of Culture (New York, 1964) The Nature of Religious Language’, pp. 55–7.Google Scholar
  25. 40.
    See David Jasper, ‘Supporting the Radicals: a Poetic Contribution’, The Heythrop Journal, XXII (1981) 407–16;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Don Cupitt, The World to Come (London, 1982) pp. 77–89.Google Scholar
  27. 41.
    Lord Coleridge (Geoffrey Duke, 3rd Baron), quoted in Kathleen Coburn, In Pursuit of Coleridge (London, 1977) p. 27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Jasper 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hatfield CollegeDurhamUK

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