Enthusiasm and the Light Within

  • Robert Crocker
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 185)


As we saw in More’s poetic allegory of the spiritual journey in his Poems, he had first defined ‘Enthusiasm’ in terms reminiscent of the spiritual acceptance of a ‘false light’ described in the Theologia Germanica as an almost inevitable temptation upon the path of spiritual development, or as he later put it, a “full but false persuasion that in a man that he is inspired”.1 For More this was the result of the ‘natural’ consciousness of body and self possessing the mind — a temptation which was furthered by the determinism and ‘unfelt hypocrisy’ of orthodox Calvinism.2 From this perspective, Enthusiasm was one important aspect of the negative delusive forces assailing the soul in quest of union with God. For this reason in his later theological works More uses the concept of Enthusiasm alongside that of Atheism and Roman Catholicism as three interrelated expressions of the ‘mystery of iniquity’ assailing both the individual and the Church.3


Primal Matter Paradoxical Doctrine Divine Knowledge Divine Mind Prose Commentary 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AustraliaAustralia

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