A scholarly examination of Coleridge's attempt to construct an all-embracing system of ideas that traces the theological tradition in some of its ramifications. Someone as complex as Coleridge stands in several convergent traditions but the author demonstrates how his thinking was deeply intellectual and profoundly imaginative, rooted in the thought, poetry, and spirituality of the Western tradition.
Few figures who were active in the English Romantic Movement are as fascinating as Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Aside from his own visionary verse, Coleridge is famous for his colourful friendships with fellow-poets Wordsworth and Southey, and above all for his well documented drug-taking and creative use of opium. But it is less widely appreciated that he was also a key figure in Anglican thought, whose writings are continually referred to by modern Anglican theologians. Coleridge's journey from the Unitarianism of his father towards a later commitment to Anglican Trinitarianism of a type he had rejected in his youth involved a rigorous philosophical process of imaginative liberal thinking. Over the last 200 years, that thinking has provided Anglicanism with many valedictory tools as well as a measure of robust self-belief. Offering a major contribution both to religious history and the history of ideas, Graham Neville here charts the particular liberal tradition in British religious thought which stems directly from Coleridge. He shows why Coleridge's thought remains so significant, and traces the ways in which his subject's theological ideas profoundly influenced later British writers and scholars like F.D. Maurice, F.J.A. Hort, F.W. Robertson, B.F. Westcott, John Oman and Thomas Erskine (once called the 'Scottish Coleridge'). Dr Neville further relates the pioneering ideas of Coleridge to current developments in theology and scientific method.