Uniting Warmth and Light: Samuel Taylor Coleridge as Defender of Evangelical Anglican Christianity
Corbin, Christopher Wesley
Samuel Taylor Coleridge has long been considered one of the most important literary figures from English Romanticism. In recent years, he has increasingly been recognized as an important figure for philosophy and theology as well. Using a model of religious identity that looks beyond formal belief and practice to include a constellation of “cultural” features as well, one can locate Coleridge’s religious affiliation in the landscape of religious movements and identities in late 18th and early 19th century Britain. When one looks to Coleridge’s doctrinal and theological emphases, one sees the elevated importance of original sin, the human need for divine grace through justification by faith alone, the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, and a moderate view of divine election. Looking to the broader elements of his “religious culture,” one finds in Coleridge’s work modes of piety, literary genres, a view of the church, an understanding of Baptism, and polemical opponents that were also common to second generation, moderate Anglican Evangelicals. The explicit theology and doctrine found in Coleridge’s published and unpublished writings, as well as the markers of his religious cultural identity, demonstrate that he very likely became some form of moderate Anglican Evangelical by the time he died.