Theology and politics in Richard Hooker's thought

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Abstract:

Although Richard Hooker's private attitudes were clericalist and authoritarian, his constitutional theory subordinated clergymen to laymen and monarchy to parliamentary statute. This article explains why his political ideas were nonetheless appropriate to his presumed religious purposes. It notes a very intimate connection between his teleological conception of a law and his hostility towards conventional high Calvinist ideas about predestination. The most significant anomaly within his broadly Aristotelian world-view was his belief that politics is nothing but a means to cope with sin. This too can be linked to his religious ends, but it creates an ambiguity that made his doctrines usable by Locke.

Keywords: Anglicanism; Aquinas; Hooker; Laud; Locke; Royal Supremacy; Saravia; absolutism; conciliarism; consent; constitutionalism; contract; ius gentium; natural law; predestination; teleology; universalism; virtue

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Politics, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 218, Reading RG6 6AA. Email:a.d.t.cromartie@reading.ac.uk

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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