Navigation – Plan du site
Histoire des idées

S. T. Coleridge, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit (1840): Its Place in the History of Biblical Criticism

Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit (1840) de S. T. Coleridge : sa place dans l’histoire de la critique biblique
David Jasper
p. 43-54

Résumé

L’ouvrage posthume de S. T. Coleridge, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, est trop rarement perçu comme un texte capital dans l’histoire de la critique biblique. S’inscrivant dans la tradition allemande, celle de Lessing en particulier, il présente pourtant une herméneutique critique qui reconnaît l’autorité de la Bible tout en évitant la doctrine de l’inspiration plénière et les dangers de ce que Coleridge appelle la « bibliolâtrie ». Un lien étroit est établi entre la littérature de la Bible et l’œuvre de Shakespeare, lien selon lequel les Écritures révèlent la nature de Dieu et les vérités de la foi chrétienne. Le retentissement des Confessions ne se fit pas ressentir de manière immédiate, mais l’ouvrage est le précurseur de nombreux travaux bien ultérieurs dans le domaine de la critique biblique, dont l’essai de Benjamin Jowett dans Essays and Reviews (1860). Coleridge définit une herméneutique résolument moderne qui définit la Bible comme le Verbe de Dieu mais qui considère aussi « le chariot vivant qui porte (pour nous) le trône de l’Humanité Divine ». Dans ses Confessions, Coleridge confirme que les Écritures sont à la fois une grande œuvre littéraire, et, par là-même, un ouvrage théologique sur la révélation religieuse.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

  • 1  John Tulloch, Movements of Religious Thought in Britain during the Nineteenth Century, Leicester: (...)

1Samuel Taylor Coleridge is perhaps still best known as a Romantic poet, the friend of William Wordsworth during their early years in the Lake District, and the writer of the Biographia Literaria (1817). However, the publication in recent years of the great Bollingen Collected Works, together with the multi-volume Notebooks, has brought to scholarly attention Coleridge’s massive contribution to both theological and philosophical reflection within Romanticism, and not least, his central place in the development of biblical criticism, perhaps above all in the short work entitled Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit. The importance of this work was acknowledged as long ago as 1885 by Principal John Tulloch of St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews, in his great work Movements of Religious Thought inBritainduring the Nineteenth Century, in which Tulloch comments on Coleridge’s “constant play of great power, of imagination as well as reason, of spiritual insight as well as logical subtlety”1 in the Confessions. Tulloch goes on to place Coleridge’s writing within the larger field of English theology—to be extended, as we shall see later, to the field of German biblical criticism also:

  • 2 Ibid., 24-5.

The Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit were of course merely one indication of the rise of a true spirit of criticism in English theology. Arnold, Whately, Thirlwall, and others, it will be seen were all astir in the same direction, even before the Confessions were published. The notion of verbal inspiration, or the infallible dictation of Holy Scripture, could not possibly continue after the modern spirit of historical inquiry had begun. As soon as men plainly recognized the organic growth of all great facts, literary as well as others, it was inevitable that they should see Scripture in a new light, as a product of many phases of thought in course of more or less perfect development2.

  • 3  See further, David Jasper, Coleridge as Poet and Religious Thinker, London: Macmillan Press, 1985, (...)

2Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit was first published in 1840, six years after Coleridge’s death. Its editor, Henry Nelson Coleridge was the author’s nephew and his literary executor, the editor also of the four volumes of Coleridge’s Literary Remains in Prose and Verse (1836-1839). A second edition of the work, with an introduction by Joseph Henry Green, co-executor of Coleridge’s literary estate, and with further “short pieces on religious subjects” appeared in 1849, with a third edition in 1863. This third edition was again reprinted in 1956 under the editorship of H. St J. Hart. In other words, the Confessions was clearly read and appreciated in the nineteenth century, and Coleridge’s reputation as a religious thinker acknowledged3.

3On 7 May 1825, Coleridge wrote to J. A. Hessey, of Taylor and Hessey, the publishers of the major work of his later career as a writer, Aids to Reflection (1825), concerning six “disquisitions,” all of which except one are mentioned in Aids to Reflection as to be published in a “small supplementary volume.” The sixth of these is entitled “On the right and the superstitious Use of the Sacred Scriptures.” The manuscript of this work apparently lay with the publisher for more than a year, according to a letter which Coleridge wrote to J. Blanco White on 20 July 1825, being intended as a part of Aids to Reflection but omitted on account of its excessive length. In further letters to Hessey in 1825, and in notes and letters throughout the rest of his life, Coleridge continues to comment upon this “disquisition.” In a letter of 23 May 1825 he considers possible titles for the six disquisitions “supplemental of the Aids to Reflection,” eventually deciding on “The Grey-headed Passenger: or Conversations on Ship-board… during a voyage to the Mediterranean—or Cabin Conversations on subjects of moral and religious interest.”

  • 4  Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 5, Oxford: Oxford Uni (...)

4The Passenger being Coleridge himself, his companion is described as “a young Clergyman, newly ordained who had subscribed to the 39 articles [of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer], on the principles of [Archdeacon] Paley as mere Articles of Peace, quite satisfied in conscience that he should never preach counter to them as he should never trouble himself or his flock about them”4. This liberal young man of “fine intellect, and generous feelings” is nevertheless content with a gospel of morality, convenient and unphilosophical, and is “mortified by the doubts which the Grey-headed Passenger expresses as to his perseverance in the task.” What is urged on the young man is a philosophical Christianity which is “agreeable to the Reason, Moral Being, and all the contra-distinguishing Attributes of Humanity.”

  • 5  See further, J. Robert Barth, Coleridge and Christian Doctrine, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard Univers (...)

5Such a “philosophical Christianity” underlies the arguments of Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit which focuses upon the question of scriptural infallibility—whether or not an “Infallible Intelligence” simply guarantees the authority of all the canonical books. Protesting against what he calls “bibliolatry,” that is the blind and uncritical worship of Scripture, Coleridge roots his discussion in his profound and passionate need for the assurance of salvation, “groaning under a deep sense of infirmity and manifold imperfection.” It is the power of scripture, he wrote, to “find me at greater depths of my being […] than I have experienced in all other books put together.” In particular, he emphasizes its claims upon his “moral sense in conjunction with his clearest knowledge” or his reason, which is the source of its authority. Answering both his deepest needs, and in accord with his reasoning faculty, the Confessions aimed in short, to demonstrate “the place of man’s humanity” in the witness of scripture5. Denying, in a criticism of Paley and others, that no “evidence” of truth or authority in religion can to be discovered apart from felt human need, they affirm that persistent note of Coleridge’s later prose which is sounded most clearly and succinctly in Aids to Reflection: “Evidences of Christianity: I am weary of the word. Make a man feel the want of it; rouse him, if you can, to the self-knowledge of his need of it; and you may safely trust to its own Evidence.”

6To recognize this need was, for Coleridge, to accept intellectual responsibility as a moral and rational agent. The Confessions are prefaced by the figure which he describes as “the Pentad of Operative Christianity,” that is the most developed form of Coleridge’s expositions of the Trinity. For him the fundamental principle of polarity (whereby two become one, yet remain a unity) is also a triunity—two poles related by their originating unity—and upon this “trichotomous logic” in the various forms of the pentad or tetrad Coleridge meditated with passionate intellect. In such apparent abstruseness, his mind and heart were yet yearning for salvation.

7The critic Basil Willey has made large claims for Coleridge’s work on the Scriptures:

  • 6  Basil Willey, Nineteenth Century Studies, London: Chatto & Windus, 1949, 40.

[His] literary and spiritual insight placed him upon a point of vantage from which he could overlook the nineteenth century country in front of him, and reply in advance to all that the Zeitgeist would thereafter bring forward6.

8In 1840, however, England was hardly yet ready for the Confessions. Coleridge, peculiarly and in England almost uniquely sensitive to German scholarship, remarkably perceived in anticipation, on the one hand, the dangers in the disembodied Hegelian idealism of David Friedrich Strauss’s great work Das Leben Jesu (1835-1836), while on the other he recognized that the critical spirit in Germany rendered impossible any simple and absolute belief in the “verbal inspiration” of the Bible. Embracing a deep theological humanism, as long ago as 1810 he had written:

  • 7  Kathleen Coburn (ed.), Samuel Taylor Coleridge,Collected Notebooks, Vol. 3, London: Routledge, 197 (...)

If Christianity be indeed a scheme of redemption, we may be assured that his doctrines must be such as that all must converge to one point, and with them all the essential faculties and excellencies of the human Being […] 7.

9Thus a deep human need combined with acute critical awareness lie behind the Confessions. From the German tradition of Herder, Eichhorn, Lessing and Schleiermacher, Coleridge imbibed an appreciation of the problems of contemporary biblical criticism—he was much engaged, for example, by Eichhorn’s treatment of the relationship between the first three canonical gospels, known as the synoptic problem—and a respect for the historical circumstances of the biblical writings and the sacred events that lay behind them. Respect for the Bible meant not the arbitrary neglect of literary difficulties and factual disagreements between its books, but, in Herder’s term, Verstehen, that imaginative comprehension by which we recreate and re-enter its world and make it our own.

10In particular the Confessions draw heavily upon the work of Lessing, so much so that J. H. Green was even impelled to write a lengthy introduction to the edition of 1849 denying charges of plagiarism. Indeed, Green assembles evidence that Coleridge was rather wary of Lessing as “a safe guide on the whole to a sound and satisfactory theology,” and suggests that where Lessing was “fragmentary, critical, controversial and tentative,” Coleridge’s work was “an integral part of a digested scheme of Christian philosophy and theology” (ed. 1849, x).

  • 8  Quoted in Anthony J. Harding, Coleridge and the Inspired Word, Montreal: McGill Queen University P (...)

11Coleridge had also read carefully Bishop Connop Thirlwall’s English translation of Schleiermacher’s Critical Essay on the Gospel of St. Luke (1825), making detailed notes on it. He perceived there a tendency towards Straussian speculations which, he says, “poison the very sources of the Christian Religion,”8 but he also saw that Schleiermacher and his German colleagues were a necessary corrective to the superstitious evils of Protestant “bibliolatry” and therefore a means to recover something of the inspiration of early Christianity.

12In their appreciation of the hermeneutic problems of reading Scripture and their understanding of German critical theology, Coleridge and Thirlwall stood almost alone in British scholarship, where the doctrine of plenary inspiration of the Bible was to remain largely undisturbed for another four decades. Even so intelligent and appreciative a mind as that of Archdeacon Julius Hare found itself out of tune with the underlying energetic spirit of Coleridge’s argument. Hare wrote in his Preface to The Mission of the Comforter of 1846:

[Coleridge had] a few opinions on points of biblical criticism, likely to be very offensive to persons who know nothing about the history of the Canon. Some of these opinions, to which Coleridge himself ascribed a good deal of importance, seem to me of little worth; some, to be decidedly erroneous. Philological criticism, indeed all matters requiring a laborious and accurate investigation of details, were alien from the bents and habits of his mind; and his exegetical studies, such as they were, took place when he had little better than the meagre Rationalism of Eichhorn and Bertholdt [sic] to help him.

  • 9  Basil Willey, op. cit., 39.

13The first half of the nineteenth century in England, stubbornly insular and unimaginative, in general denied a place to biblical criticism. To indulge in such activity implied to Bishop Van Mildert in his Bampton Lectures of 1814 “moral defectiveness, unsoundness of faith, and disloyalty to the church”9. It was not until Essays and Reviews in 1860 that the storm broke, when Benjamin Jowett’s great essay on “The Interpretation of Scripture” in particular echoed Coleridge, and English theology in the later nineteenth century began to engender distinguished biblical criticism in the work of the “Cambridge triumvirate,” B. F. Westcott, J. B. Lightfoot and F. J. A. Hort, all of whom wrote within critical perspectives that would be familiar to the reader of Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit.

14In The Statesman’s Manual (1816), Coleridge, writing of the Scriptures, describes

  • 10  R. J. White (ed.), Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 6 (Lay Sermons), Princeton: Pr (...)

[…] the living educts of the imagination; of that reconciling and mediatory power, which incorporating the Reason in Images of the sense, and organizing (as it were) the flux of the Senses by the permanence and self-circling energies of the Reason, gives birth to a system of symbols, harmonious in themselves, and consubstantial with the truths, of which they are the conductors. These are the Wheels which Ezekiel beheld, when the hand of the Lord was upon him, and he saw visions of God as he sat among the captives by the river of Chebar. Withersoever the Spirit was to go, the Wheels went, and thither was their spirit to go: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels also. The truths and the symbols that represent them move in conjunction and form the living chariot that bears up (for us) the Throne of the Divine Humanity10.

15The imagination here combines these faculties of the critical spirit which permeate the Confessions, “incorporating the Reason in Images of the Sense.” This living “chariot” of the Imagination with its truths and symbols, mediates between the human and the divine realms, fully alive yet “consubstantial” with the eternal truths which it conducts. It is with this powerful image of communication between God and humanity that one should read the seven “letters” which compromise the Confessions. In the first letter, Coleridge adopts an attitude of reason which dispenses, as far as possible, with preconceptions and a priori judgements about the literary sanctity of the biblical text: “I take up this work with the purpose to read it for the first time as I should read any other work.” It is impossible, of course, to abandon a particular and favourable disposition towards the Bible, but that is quite different from carrying to it “the contagious blastments of prejudice, and the fog-blight of self-superstition.”

16It is the opening passage of the second letter which became most familiar to readers of Coleridge, criticising the doctrine that the Bible was composed not only by those writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but also “dictated by an Infallible Intelligence,” that is, that the writers were not only divinely inspired, but also divinely informed. Such a doctrine Coleridge finds to be contrary not only to his reason but also to his “moral sense in conjunction with [his] clearest knowledge.” What is at issue here is the nature of the Bible’s authority, and nowhere in Scripture does he find the biblical authors themselves making extravagant claims beyond those of any other sober-minded writers under normal circumstances. The critic’s task, in a move which is reminiscent of the hermeneutics of Schleiermacher, is to think back into the mind of the biblical age itself, and to do so is to discover among the Jews no universal idea of the “plenary inspiration” of scripture such as “later divines extend to all the canonical books.” It is to Moses alone, in the recording and receiving of the Law, that the early Jews attribute an “unmodified and absolute theopneusty.”

  • 11  Byrom is described in The Cambridge History of English Literature as “an ardent Jacobite, a poet [ (...)

17Coleridge, an inveterate user of recondite words, picked this one up from an early seventeenth century source, as he seems also to have done with that other great “Coleridgean” word of the Confessions, “bibliolatry.” Wrongly ascribed by J. H. Green to Lessing, it is probable that Coleridge encountered it in the writings of John Byrom (died, 1763)11 who uses it at least twice. One senses in the Confessions that Coleridge feels too deeply the immensity of his task to risk new and untried words, and yet precision requires him to draw upon the whole wide and recondite range of his English vocabulary, soaked as it is in English theology of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

18He concludes the second letter by uttering the conviction that “the Bible and Christianity are their own sufficient evidence,” requiring for their authority no prior defence or extrinsic verification. This intrinsic worth of the Bible is explored further in the third letter. There an analogy is made with the writings of Shakespeare from whom the mind receives delight by “that unity or total impression,” both of the general and the particular which is far removed from such pedantic or dogmatic interpretation as would deny Shakespeare’s genius simply because some of his work is immature or uneven. St Paul, indeed, yields like Shakespeare to the free play of the imaginative mind which refuses to be coerced by arbitrary demands which lie outside and previous to the texts of the books themselves or by specific criticisms of particular elements. Thus, the doctrine that God simply dictated all Scripture merely “petrifies” the Bible. It should be for us a collection of writings to be prized, loved and revered, a “breathing organism” and “grand panharmonicon,” breathed through but not coerced by one Spirit working “diversly” in all its parts.

  • 12  See S. t. Coleridge, Theory of Life, Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard (Seth B. Watson ed.), 1848.

19At this point, in a footnote reminiscent of so many others in Aids to Reflection, Coleridge makes a typical distinction between two words, diversly (from the adjective “divers”) and diversely, by which he means heterogeneously. For, he writes, “the same Spirit may act and impel diversly, but, being a good Spirit, it cannot act diversely.” In the Bible is perceived that special quality in the relationship between the whole and its parts—the imaginative principle of “unity in multeity”12. Did Deborah in the book of Judges descend to singing of personal wrongs or pedantic complaint? Her vision was rather, he suggests, a broad, humane and generous unity, embracing all of Israel’s woes. “[…] She was a mother in Israel; and with a mother’s heart, and with the vehemency of a mother’s and a patriot’s love, she had shot the light of love from her eyes, and poured the blessings of love from her lips […]” Holding this image of Deborah before the eyes is an exercise of the Imagination, that living “chariot” which conveys true history not as a mere chronicle of events or personal woes but as events which, in their universal humanity, are “consubstantial” with God’s purposes for his people.

20In his fourth letter, Coleridge examines the difference between the two propositions: “The Bible contains the religion revealed by God,” and “Whatever is contained in the Bible is religion, and was revealed by God.” The first of these may be true, while the second undoubtedly is not. Contrary to the nature of that “breathing organism” which lies at the very heart of the Christian faith, this second proposition also promotes extraordinary interpretations which seemingly arbitrarily connect passages detached from one another by centuries and different cultures, or take as literal that which is intended to be read as figurative. It is a violation both of faith and reason, and by it terrible abuses in the Church have been defended. Demanding for the Bible only that justice which should be granted to all other books of grave authority, Coleridge finds in it its own sufficient evidence as a source and support of faith for the humble soul who longs for righteousness. The worst result of bibliolatry is an uncritical and lazy “habit of slothful, undiscriminating, acquiescence.” The Bible, nevertheless, is not to be read in isolation, apart from Christian tradition and doctrine and the experience of faith. It is, rather, an integral, humane and living part of that tradition, at the very heart indeed of “the moral and intellectual cultivation of the species.”

21In his concluding seventh letter, Coleridge returns to this defence of a revealed and “philosophical Christianity” and to the language of the “pentad of operative Christianity” which prefaces the work. He writes:

Revealed Religion (and I know of no religion not revealed) is in its highest contemplation the unity, that is the identity or co-inherence, of Subjective and Objective. It is in itself, and irrelatively, at once inward Life and Truth, and outward Fact and luminary. But as all Power manifests itself in the harmony of correspondent Opposites, each supposing and supporting the other, so has Religion its objective, or historic and ecclesiastic pole, and its subjective, or spiritual pole.

  • 13  E. L. Griggs (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford Universit (...)

22This is a far cry from the young intellectual Coleridge who in 1796, at the age of twenty four, had contemptuously abandoned history for metaphysics, poetry and “facts of Mind” which “are my darling studies”13. Now, nearing the end of his life, Coleridge had come to appreciate more deeply the living and historical nature of Christianity and its tradition. Above all, perhaps, in the “polar logic” of his late religious thought, he perceived that “triunity” of the two poles with their indifference or “mesothesis” which, in the Literary Remains (3:93), he calls “the sensible voice of the Holy Spirit.” In Scripture, he would affirm, “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,” and the individual, as an individual, becomes one with the great truths of the Christian Church in faith and not with fear.

  • 14  John Tulloch, op. cit., 24-25.
  • 15  See further, James Barr, “Jowett and the Reading of the Bible ‘like Any Other Book’,” in Horizons (...)

23Although Coleridge’s writings about Scripture foreshadowed much critical work that was to be done in England later in the nineteenth century their immediate effect on biblical criticism was relatively insignificant. True, a few theologians like F. D. Maurice appreciated his work and reflected his influence in their own writings. John Tulloch, as we have seen, in his book Movements of Religious Thought in Britain During the Nineteenth Century placed the Confessions within “the rise of a true spirit of criticism in English theology”14. But it was a measure of the general neglect of Coleridge’s work that when Benjamin Jowett published his essay “On the Interpretation of Scripture” in Essays and Reviews (1860), the outcry from conservative quarters was shocked and bitter. People had simply not heard the voice of Coleridge, though Jowett, along with others like Charles Gore, was very largely repeating arguments made by him decades before. Indeed, it has to be acknowledged that Jowett’s vast and notorious essay of over one hundred pages, lacks much of the subtlety of Coleridge’s writing. As Professor James Barr has recently pointed out, although Jowett is often understood as proposing an essentially historical approach to the Bible in his insistence on returning to the one original meaning in the mind of the prophet or evangelist, he actually seems to understand little about the hermeneutical difficulties of such an historical recovery. Jowett’s static view of literature and the Bible which as he put it, “remains as at the first unchanged amid the changing interpretations of it” contrasts with the subtle suggestiveness of Coleridge’s notion of the “breathing organism,” so briefly yet elegantly aware of both the literary and the historical engagement which must take place between the interpreter and the text15.

  • 16  Paul de Man, “The Rhetoric of Temporality,” in Charles S. Singleton (ed.), Interpretation: Theory (...)

24Coleridge’s rare intelligence, combining poetry with profound thought, linked with the passionate and almost desperate faith of his later years and the allusive, suggestive nature of his writing has always earned him critics, even among those who admire his achievement. In 1893, Otto Pfleiderer in his book Development of Theology in Germany since Kant, and its Progress in England since 1825, doubts the rigour of Coleridge’s intellectual commitment, placing him alongside the critical spirits of Lessing, Herder and Schleiermacher, while yet he has an “inclination to suppress intelligent criticism in religious questions.” In our own day, a very different and deeply sceptical critic, the American Paul de Man, is perplexed by Coleridge’s “ontological bad faith,” that is, again, the tendency to abandon the exercise of his intelligence in the insistence, in discussions of symbol and the imagination, on confusing the purely human with a “transcendental source”16.

25One feels Coleridge bestriding such criticism like a Colossus. It is the universal human experience of reason which, for him, guarantees Scripture as authoritative, a “system of Symbols” which reconciles the human with the transcendent. In The Statesman’s Manual, Coleridge boldly describes the Bible as indeed derivative and secondary, yet its influence is not divided from its source or simply “metaphorical” in this sense, but “worthily entitled the WORD OF GOD.” For faith to call the Bible an inspired text is not to condemn all its parts to the illogical demands of a doctrine of inerrancy. And if it is easy for critics to accuse Coleridge of duplicity, bad faith or wanting to have it both ways, one has to recognize his claim that the faith which grants a peculiar authority to Scripture is not a contradiction or abandonment of the exercise of reason, but the realization of reason itself in its highest form, of those truths and symbols which comprise “the living chariot that bears up (for us) the throne of the Divine Humanity.”

  • 17  Geoffrey H. Hartman, “The Struggle for the Text,” in Geoffrey H. Hartman and Sanford Budick (eds.) (...)

26Today one hardly reads Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit in the academic manner of most modern biblical criticism. Its argument, though complex, is general, its tone poetic, passionate and urgent. Yet it reminds us that biblical authority is neither arbitrary nor dogmatic, but is discovered in the adventure of the human spirit encountering the Word of God expressed in human language and experience transmitted through history. Nor can the central question of Coleridge’s discussion ever be far from the mind of the critic of our own time. One recent discussion of the nature of Scripture begins: “To call the Bible a sacred text is to set it apart, to constitute it as such for the reader, but…”17: and with that “but,” I am back at once with Coleridge, and so the discussion begins anew in each generation.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

BARR James, “Jowett and the Reading of the Bible ‘like Any Other Book’,” in Horizons in Biblical Theology, Pittsburgh: Clifford E. Barbour Library, 1983.

BARTH J. Robert, Coleridge and Christian Doctrine, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1969.

COBURN Kathleen (ed.), Samuel Taylor Coleridge,Collected Notebooks, Vol. 3, London: Routledge, 1973.

COLERIDGE Samuel Taylor, Theory of Life, Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard (Seth B. Watson, ed.), 1848.

GRIGGS Earl Leslie (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.
---, Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 5, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.

HARDING Anthony John, Coleridge and the Inspired Word, Montreal: McGill Queen University Press, 1985.

HARTMAN Geoffrey H., “The Struggle for the Text,” in Geoffrey H. Hartman and Sanford Budick (eds.), Midrash and Literature, Yale: Yale University Press, 1986.

JASPER David, Coleridge as Poet and Religious Thinker, London: Macmillan Press, 1985.

MAN Paul de, “The Rhetoric of Temporality,” in Charles S. Singleton (ed.), Interpretation: Theory and Practice, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1969.

TULLOCH John, Movements of Religious Thought in Britain during the Nineteenth Century, Leicester: Leicester University Press, [1885] 1971.

WARD A. W. & A. R. WALLER (eds.), The Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol. IX, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912.

WHITE R. J. (ed.), Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 6 (Lay Sermons), Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.

WILLEY Basil, Nineteenth Century Studies, London: Chatto & Windus, 1949.

Haut de page

Notes

1  John Tulloch, Movements of Religious Thought in Britain during the Nineteenth Century, Leicester: Leicester University Press, [1885] 1971, 8.

2 Ibid., 24-5.

3  See further, David Jasper, Coleridge as Poet and Religious Thinker, London: Macmillan Press, 1985, which also explores Coleridge’s continuing importance in the field of biblical criticism in the twentieth century.

4  Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 5, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971, 464.

5  See further, J. Robert Barth, Coleridge and Christian Doctrine, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1969, 84.

6  Basil Willey, Nineteenth Century Studies, London: Chatto & Windus, 1949, 40.

7  Kathleen Coburn (ed.), Samuel Taylor Coleridge,Collected Notebooks, Vol. 3, London: Routledge, 1973, 3803.

8  Quoted in Anthony J. Harding, Coleridge and the Inspired Word, Montreal: McGill Queen University Press, 1985, 84.

9  Basil Willey, op. cit., 39.

10  R. J. White (ed.), Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 6 (Lay Sermons), Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972, 29.

11  Byrom is described in The Cambridge History of English Literature as “an ardent Jacobite, a poet [and] a mystic.” An admirer of William Law, he paraphrased much of Law’s writing in verse. (See A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller (eds.), The Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol. IX, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912, 325-7.

12  See S. t. Coleridge, Theory of Life, Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard (Seth B. Watson ed.), 1848.

13  E. L. Griggs (ed.), Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966, 260.

14  John Tulloch, op. cit., 24-25.

15  See further, James Barr, “Jowett and the Reading of the Bible ‘like Any Other Book’,” in Horizons in Biblical Theology, Pittsburgh: Clifford E. Barbour Library, 1983, 1-44.

16  Paul de Man, “The Rhetoric of Temporality,” in Charles S. Singleton (ed.), Interpretation: Theory and Practice, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1969, 194.

17  Geoffrey H. Hartman, “The Struggle for the Text,” in Geoffrey H. Hartman and Sanford Budick (eds.), Midrash and Literature, Yale: Yale University Press, 1986, 3.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

David Jasper, « S. T. Coleridge, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit (1840): Its Place in the History of Biblical Criticism », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. V - n°4 | 2007, 43-54.

Référence électronique

David Jasper, « S. T. Coleridge, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit (1840): Its Place in the History of Biblical Criticism », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. V - n°4 | 2007, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2009, consulté le 06 avril 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/1283 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lisa.1283

Haut de page

Auteur

David Jasper

(Glasgow, Great Britain)
David Jasper is Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He holds degrees from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Durham and Uppsala and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His doctoral thesis was on the work of S. T. Coleridge as poet and religious thinker. The founding editor of the Oxford journal Literature and Theology, D. Jasper is the author of numerous articles and monographs in the field of literature and religion. His most recent book is The Sacred Desert (2004), and he is the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology (2007). At present he is completing a sequel to The Sacred Desert, entitled The Sacred Body.

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la Revue LISA / LISA e-journal sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • OpenEdition Journals