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This essay concerns two closely related subjects: the religious philosophy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the need for a new vision in Christian theology today. Though it is the second, more ambitious and adventurous topic that deserves the more sensitive treatment, it is rather to Coleridge himself that I have given the greater part of my attention. The reasoning behind this procedure is based upon a fairly simple fact: Coleridge's religious thought is still largely unknown to most people in the philosophical and theological communities. During the past twenty years or so, as many of Coleridge's hitherto unpublished notebooks and other manuscripts have been brought to light, a number of scholars of English literature have begun to study his thought, including his theology, with greater care. But it is still rare to find a researcher outside literature per se who knows much of Coleridgean philosophy, beyond (perhaps) a few phrases from his theory of the imagination in the Biographia Literaria. I have thought it advisable, accordingly, to devote the larger portion of this paper to describing some of the salient features of Coleridge's thought, and to do so in the special light provided by one of his most powerful ideas, the idea of polarity. Nevertheless, I would also hope to call attention throughout to the second, constructive topic, to the need for a new vision in theology. Though I shall be only briefly sketching this vision in a direct way toward the end of the essay, I would ask the reader to recognize, even from the beginning, that Coleridge is attempting to awaken nothing other than a possible way of seeing God.

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