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Confessions and Criticisms. by: Julian Hawthorne. Publication date: Publisher: Ticknor and co. Collection: americana. Digitizing sponsor.
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Bilderback and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. At that period I had no intention of becoming a professional writer: I was studying civil engineering at the Polytechnic School in Dresden, Saxony. Years before, I had received parental warnings--unnecessary, as I thought--against writing for a living.
When, in , I was abruptly relieved from my duties in the Dock Department, I had the alternative of either taking my family down to Central America to watch me dig a canal, or of attempting to live by my pen. It was lost on the way, and has not yet been found. I was rather pleased than otherwise at this catastrophe; for I had in those days a strange delight in rewriting my productions: it was, perhaps, a more sensible practice than to print them. King, the publisher, a charming but imprudent man, for he paid me one hundred pounds for the English copyright of my novel: and the moderate edition he printed is, I believe, still unexhausted.
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.
Confessions and Criticisms by Julian Hawthorne. Search eText, Read Online, Study, Discuss.
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. Westcott, J. Lightfoot and F. Hort, all of whom wrote within critical perspectives that would be familiar to the reader of Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit. 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.
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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 Humanity Green to Lessing, it is probable that Coleridge encountered it in the writings of John Byrom died, 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.
This intrinsic worth of the Bible is explored further in the third letter. 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.
Did Deborah in the book of Judges descend to singing of personal wrongs or pedantic complaint? 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. 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.
Confessions and Criticisms by Julian Hawthorne
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. Now, nearing the end of his life, Coleridge had come to appreciate more deeply the living and historical nature of Christianity and its tradition.
True, a few theologians like F. Maurice appreciated his work and reflected his influence in their own writings. 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. 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.
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. Barbour Library, Watson, ed. Hartman and Sanford Budick eds. Singleton ed.