Jeffrey W. Barbeau, ed. Coleridge’s Assertion of Religion: Essays on the Opus Maximum. Studies in Philosophical Theology. Leuven: Peeters, 2006.
Alternately titled the “Assertion of Religion,” “the great work,” “Logosophia,” “magnum opus,” and the “Opus Maximum,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s philosophical assertion of religion was often regarded as the work that would determine his permanent contribution to the history of ideas. Despite endless preparatory studies, however, Coleridge’s plan to develop a unified system, drawing from philosophy, literature, theology, history, and the natural sciences, remained incomplete at his death. Coleridge’s Assertion of Religion, edited by Jeffrey W. Barbeau, contains the first collection of original scholarship on the newly published Opus Maximum. While the language of the Opus Maximum is often complex and fragmentary, the essays in this volume open new avenues for future discussion of pivotal themes in Coleridge’s writings, including careful analysis of Coleridge’s conception of God and the Trinity, the human will, his relationship to Neoplatonism, and his unique defense of the human self through the connection between a mother and a child. The volume thereby contributes to the ongoing assessment of Coleridge’s contribution to nineteenth-century Romanticism and his place in the history of ideas.
“This collection of essays will set the standard for scholars confronting Coleridge’s Opus Maximum, and not only because it is the first of its kind . . . this collection of essays shows how, through a reading of the Opus Maximum, Coleridge’s entire career will need to be reevaluated and revalued by the next generation of Coleridge scholars.”
—Michael Raiger, European Romantic Review
“Not the least of the collection’s virtues is to remind us that the writings of Coleridge’s last fifteen years are no less significant―and no less worthy of interpretation―than those of his first thirty years.”
—Nicholas Halmi, The Coleridge Bulletin