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Hooker, Travers and the Church of Rome in the 1580s

  • Richard Bauckham (a1)
Extract

Richard Hooker's attitude to the Church of Rome has been widely misrepresented. This attempt to elucidate it will not only modify the traditional idea of Hooker's broad-minded ecumenism, but will also make possible a fresh evaluation of his theological development and his relation to die Elizabethan hierarchy in the period up to the writing of his Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Hooker scholarship has consistently interpreted his early career, especially his controversy with Walter Travers in 1586, in the light of his later authorship of the Polity, and has shown itself to be still in the grip of Isaac Walton's portrait of Hooker as official champion of Anglican orthodoxy against the Puritans. This portrait will be seen to be inapplicable to the Hooker of the 1580s. Difficult though it is to conceive a Hooker who was not yet the author of the Polity, die understanding of his theological development requires a resolute attempt to trace it forwards towards the Polity rather than backwards from the Polity.

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1 For the tendentious character of Walton's Life, as propaganda tor the Restoration episcopacy, see especially Novarr, D., The Making of Walton's Lives (Cornell Studies in English 41), Ithaca, New York 1958.

2 The Works of Mr. Richard Hooker, ed. Keble, J., revised by Church, R. W. and Paget, F., Oxford 1888, i. lv. All quotations from Hooker are from this edition, hereinafter referred t o as Works.

3 Sisson, C. J., The Judicious Marriage of Mr. Hooker and the Birth of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Cambridge 1940, 109.

4 Works, iii. 674 f.

5 Works, i. lvi.

6 Works, iii. 675 n.i, cf. 677 n.4.

7 Sisson, op. cit., 110, 44 (where the words ‘Can a mother …’ are cited from Works, iii. 682).

8 Works, iii. 675.

9 Works, iii. 677 n.4.

10 Works, iii. 660 f.

11 See Bauckham, R., Tudor Apocalypse, Appleford 1977, chap. viii.

12 In Worki, iii. 687, a passage modelled on 1 Jn. ii. 12–14, Hooker addresses not only ‘Young men’ and ‘Fathers’, but also ‘Sweet babes’ and ‘Matrons and sisters’. In Works, iii. 697–9, he addresses in turn both pastors and the members of their flocks. From Works, iii. 695, it is clear that Hooker preached at least one more sermon on this passage of Jude.

13 Works, iii. 699.

14 See Bauckham, op. cit., chap, iv and passim.

15 Works, iii. 676f.; cf. 692.

16 Works, iii. 678; cf. 666.

17 Works, iii. 675–7.

18 Works, iii. 692, cf. 696 f.

19 Works, iii. 678.

20 Works, iii. 679.

21 Bauckham, R., ‘The Career and Thought of Dr. William Fulke (1537–1589)’, Cambridge Ph.D. thesis 1973, 124–8.

22 Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum, ed. Hessels, J. H., Cambridge 1889, ii. 670, 672–4.

23 Sisson, op. cit., 25 f.

24 Works, iii. 567 f.

25 DNB article on Harsnett. The sermon was eventually published in Stuart, Richard, Three Sermons. To which is aded. Afourth Sermon. Preached by Samuel Harsnett, London 1656.

26 Quoted in Works, i. 52 n.i.

27 Walton's statement that many of their sermons ‘were concerning the doctrine and ceremonies of this church’ (in Works, i. 52) was doubtless guesswork.

28 Works, iii. 495.

29 Works, iii. 560.

30 Works, iii. 591.

31 Works, iii. 544.

32 Works, iii. 495.

33 That Hooker's words are not here abridged is clear from his own testimony that ‘more than that one sentence I did not think it expedient to utter’ (Works, iii. 544).

34 Works, iii. 495; cf. 543, 591, where Hooker reports the sentence in almost identical words.

35 Works, iii. 560; my italics.

36 Bristow, Richard, A briefe treatise of divers plaine and sure waies to finde out the truth in this doubtfull and dangerous time of Heresie. Conteyning sundrie worthy motives unto the Catholike Faith, or Considerations to move a man to beleeve the Catholikes, and not the Heretikes, Antwerp 1599. (The first edition was in 1574, but I have used this edition.)

37 Bristow, Richard, Demaundes to be proponed of Catholiques to the heretikes, Antwerp 1576.

38 Works, iii. 679.

39 Works, iii. 544.

40 Demaundes, 97 f.; cf. the longer version in Bristow's 36th motive: Motives, Cols. 145v-7v.

41 This work first appeared boun d in one volume with Fulke's An Overthrow of Purgatory as Two Treatises written against the Papistes, London 1577; but the two works are paginated separately.

42 Fulke, William, A retentive to stay good Christians, in true faith and religion, against the motives of Richard Bristow, London 1580.

43 Carter, Oliver, An Answere Unto certaine Popish Questions and Demaundes, London 1579. This work is not, as is commonly said (e.g. DNB article on Carter), an answer to Bristow's Demaundes. Hooker's friend John Rainolds also dealt generally with Bristow's Motives in his Oxford disputation speeches of 1579 (published in English translation in an appendix to The summe of the conference betwene John Rainoldes and John Hart, London 1584), but Rainolds made no specific reference to the argument about the forefathers.

44 In his earlier work, An Answer of a True Christian, 73, Fulke confined himself to comparing the true Church in the period of the Roman apostasy to die 7000 faithful in the days of Elijah: the true Church was small and hidden, ‘yet is the number of it greater, than mans eye commonly can discerne’.

45 Carter, op. cit., fol. 41v.

46 Ibid., fol. 42v.

47 Ibid., fol. 421-v:

48 Fulke, Retentive, 100 f The substance of Fulke's and Carter's arguments can be found already in Latimer: Works, Parker Society, Cambridge 1844, i. 305 f, 525 f.

49 Works, iii. 543.

50 Works, iii. 544.

51 Works, iii. 560.

52 Ibid.

53 Works, iii. 495, 543, 591.

54 Works, iii. 483–547.

55 Works, i. 64.

56 Works, iii. 578.

57 Works, iii. 486.

58 Works, iii. 491.

59 Works, iii. 489.

60 Works, iii. 504 f., 525, 542 (where in line 2 the reading of F, the 1618 edition, should be preferred).

61 Works, iii. 496–500.

62 Works, iii. 675.

63 Works, iii. 527.

64 Works, iii. 676–8. Also cf. 670 (‘St. Jude, to comfort and refresh these silly lambs, taketh them up in hi s arms …’) with 521 (‘silly men, that were seduced to think they taught the truth, he pitieth, he taketh them up in his arms…’).

65 See Travers's report of it: Works, iii. 562–4.

66 See Hill, W. Speed, ‘The Evolution of Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, in Studies in Richard Hooker, ed. Hill, W. Speed, Cleveland and London 1972, 125.

67 Works, i. 64 f.

68 Sisson, op. cit, 4–8; Speed Hill, art. cit., 124–30.

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