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Richard Hooker: Invention and Re-invention

  • Diarmaid MacCulloch (a1)

Abstract

This study traces the way in which a typical Elizabethan Reformed Protestant became something slightly different during a ministerial career prematurely terminated by death in his forties, and what he became in the centuries that followed. It explains the background of divided theologies in the national Church of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, the emergence of ‘avant-garde conformism’, and the way in which Hooker was used by opposing sides to justify their positions, particularly after the Restoration of 1660, when the term ‘Anglicanism’ first becomes fully appropriate for the life and thought of the Church of England. As the Church moved from national monopoly to established status, Hooker became of use in different ways to both Tories and Whigs, though in the nineteenth century the Oxford Movement largely monopolised his memory. His views on the construction of authority may still help Anglicanism find its theological way forward.

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1

This is the text of the 2018 Lyndwood Lecture delivered at the Temple Church in London on 7 November 2018. Background will be found in D MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England 1547–1603, second edition (Basingstoke, 2000). I extend the arguments presented here in ‘Richard Hooker's Reputation’ in D MacCulloch, All Things Made New: writings on the Reformation (London, 2016), pp 279–320.

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2 Ayre, J (ed), The Works of John Whitgift D.D., 3 vols (Cambridge, 1851–3), vol I, p 184.

3 Lake, P, ‘Lancelot Andrewes, John Buckeridge and avant garde conformity at the court of James I’ in Peck, L (ed), The mental world of the Jacobean Court (Cambridge, 1991), pp 113133.

4 Sidney, P, (ed), Conversations of Ben Jonson with William Drummond of Hawthornden (London, 1906), p 20.

5 On Lady Falkland, see Brydon, M, The Evolving Reputation of Richard Hooker: an examination of responses (Oxford, 2006), pp 35, 151. On James II, see Keble, J (ed), The Works of That Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker, 3 vols in 4 (Oxford, 1836), vol I, pp civ–cv; and Miller, J, James II: a study in kingship (London, 1978), pp 57–58. Brydon observes how little Hooker was used by Anglicans in the polemical battle with Roman Catholics in James II's reign, and attributes that to the success of earlier Catholic exploitation of Hooker's writings: Brydon, Evolving Reputation of Hooker, pp 156–157.

6 ‘Cui deerat inimicus, per amicos oppressus’: Hooker, R, A learned discourse of justification, workes, and how the foundation of faith is overthrowne (Oxford, 1612); Hill, W Speed et al. (eds), The Folger Library Edition of the Works of Richard Hooker, 7 vols (Cambridge and Binghamton, 1977–94) vol V, pp 83–170, Preface, sig A2. John Keble commented sourly on Jackson that he was ‘evidently of the Reynolds school in theology’ (in reference to the celebrated Puritan President of Corpus Christi College John Rainolds): Keble, Works of Richard Hooker, vol I, p xlviii.

7 Speed Hill et al, Folger Edition of the Works of Richard Hooker, vol I, p 347.

8 Fincham, K (ed), The Early Stuart Church, 1603–1642, (Basingstoke, 1993), p 42.

9 Condren, C, ‘The creation of Richard Hooker's public authority: rhetoric, reputation and reassessment’, (1997) 21 Journal of Religious History 3559 at 45–46; Eccleshall, R, ‘Richard Hooker and the peculiarities of the English: the reception of the Ecclesiastical Polity in the 17th and 18th centuries’, (1981) 2:1 History of Political Thought 63117 at 71–74.

10 Brydon, Evolving Reputation of Hooker, pp 133–137.

11 Gauden, J (ed), The Works of Mr. Richard Hooker, (that learned, godly, judicious and eloquent Divine) … with an account of his holy life and happy death … (London, 1662), ‘Life’, p 22.

12 Ibid, ‘Life’, pp 4 and 5.

13 Equally masterly are the accounts of that shaping now provided by Martin, J, Walton's Lives: Conformist commemorations and the rise of biography (Oxford, 2001), pp 227272; and Brydon, Evolving Reputation of Hooker, pp 105–122. An older account is Novarr, D, The Making of Walton's Lives (Ithaca, NY, 1958).

14 Maltby, J, Prayer Book and People in Elizabeth and Early Stuart England (Cambridge, 1998), p 235, emphasis in original.

15 Gascoigne, J, ‘The unity of Church and State challenged: responses to Hooker from the Restoration to the nineteenth-century age of reform’, (1997) 21 Journal of Religious History 6079 at 69–70.

16 Keble, Works of Richard Hooker, vol I, p cv. Contrast Benjamin Hanbury's clear-sighted account of the reality of Hooker in Hanbury, B (ed), The Ecclesiastical Polity and Other Works of Richard Hooker …, 3 vols (London, 1830), vol I, p xiii.

1 This is the text of the 2018 Lyndwood Lecture delivered at the Temple Church in London on 7 November 2018. Background will be found in D MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England 1547–1603, second edition (Basingstoke, 2000). I extend the arguments presented here in ‘Richard Hooker's Reputation’ in D MacCulloch, All Things Made New: writings on the Reformation (London, 2016), pp 279–320.

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Richard Hooker: Invention and Re-invention

  • Diarmaid MacCulloch (a1)

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