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Richard Hooker and John Calvin: a Comment

  • Richard Bauckham
Extract

The question of Hooker's relationship to Calvin is an interesting one, but I wonder how far the evidence Dr Avis presents can really take us towards understanding it.

One aspect of the evidence which he has pointed out is the rather surprising paucity of Hooker's references to Calvin. In the Polity, outside the account of Calvin's proceeding at Geneva, Hooker cites Calvin only nine times, six times in his support and three times in order to disagree with him. In Hooker's works other than the Polity, there are six citations from Calvin, all in support of Hooker's argument. It should also be noticed that almost all of these references are polemical in intent, referring to Calvin because Calvin is an authority for Hooker's opponents. In most cases Hooker is trying to show that at some point even Calvin supports Hooker's case against the puritans. This material can, therefore, tell us little about Calvin's real theological influence on Hooker, which, if significant, must appear in ways other than explicit reference to Calvin.

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1 HW i. 127–40.

2 HW i. 145, 403f., 473; iii. 47. 175. 214.

3 HW i. 348f.; iii. 210, 385f. Calvin is also mentioned, not cited, at HW ii. 476.

4 One in the sermon on justification (HW iii. 525), one in the ‘Answer to Travers’ (HW iii. 586), and four in the manuscript notes to and fragments of an answer to the ‘Christian Letter’ (HW i. 373n.; ii. 354n., 542n., 569). There is also the discussion of Calvin in HW i. 129n., 130n., 133n., 134n., 139n.

5 HW i. 169, 294; iii. 234f., 372, 520. Beza is also mentioned at HW i. 134n.; ii. 476; iii. 230.

6 HW iii. 523.

7 HW ii. 354n.; iii. 210n.

8 HW i. 389.

9 HW i. 134n.; iii. 214, 240.

10 Peel, A. (ed.). Tracts ascribed to Richard Bancroft, Cambridge 1953; Calvin: 97, 98, 117, 136, 139f., 152, 154f., 156f., 160, 162; Beza: 118, 136, 142, 155, 161; Bucer: 118, 150f.; Bullinger: 96, 104f ; Gualter: 79, 80, 81, 82f., 111f., 128; Peter Martyr: 160; Musculus: 97f., 111, 113, 156; Zwingli: 117. Also, on pp. 48–53, Calvin, Beza, Bucer, Bullinger and others are used to show how Presbyterians differ among themselves.

11 See HW i. 139n. 33.

12 HW i. 127–40.

13 HW i. 161.

14 HW i. 138.

15 HW iii. 175.

16 Bancroft, R., Daungerous Positions and Proceedings, London 1593, 8; Whitgift, J., Works (Parker Society), Cambridge 1852, ii. 155, 231, 432f.; Collinson, cf. P., The Elizabethan Puritan Movement, London 1967, 104, 110.

17 HW i. 161.

18 E.g. Peel (ed.), Tracts, 48–53.

19 Though Avis exaggerates the point by cutting short his quotation of Hooker: the phrase ‘incomparably the wisest man that ever the French church did enjoy’ continues ‘since the hour it enjoyed him’ (HW i. 127).

20 See my article, ‘Hooker, Travers and the Church of Rome in the 1580s’, in this JOURNAL, xxix (1978), 3750.

21 See Malone, M. T., ‘The doctrine of predestination in the thought of William Perkins and Richard Hooker’, Anglican Theological Rev., liii (1970), 103117; Hill, W. Speed, ‘Doctrine and polity in Hooker's Laws’, English Literary Renaissance, ii (1972), 173–93.

22 See Parris, J. R., ‘Hooker's Doctrine of the Eucharist’, Scottish Jnl of Theology, xvi (1963), 151–65.

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The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
  • ISSN: 0022-0469
  • EISSN: 1469-7637
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