The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought

The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought

The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought

The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought

Excerpt

My attention was first drawn to Richard Hooker by the remark that Hooker's political thought was much like brook instant, in that it was based upon the realization of the importance of tradition and upon the rejection of the individual's private judgement. As I was interested in the philosophy of conservatism, I read Hooker. But before I had progressed very far I was forcibly impressed by the fact that Hooker was a Thomist and an Aristotelian and that he condemned the Puritans on grounds altogether different from those which led Burke to condemn the Revolutionaries. It is true that both men defended the political constitution of England in their time. But it is equally true that they did so for very different reasons. I have, therefore, endeavoured to unravel the historical background to some of Hooker's leading ideas. By thus determining his place in the history of thought I hope to have made also a contribution to the understanding of Hooker himself; for much light is thrown on his thought by a clear appreciation of the philosophical issues he raised and the difficulties he had to face when he embraced the cause of Thomism in Elizabethan England. I have therefore not attempted an exhaustive study of Hooker's thought and in particular have not discussed his theology and his relation to contemporary political ideas. The latter subject has been treated recently by the Reverend F. J. Shirley, in his Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas (London, 1949). Unfortunately this book. reached me too late for me to avail myself of its scholarship.

The present study was originally a Ph.D. thesis presented in the University of Cambridge. I have recorded my indebtedness to other scholars in the footnotes. But I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Professor M. C. Knowles for the kind encouragement and friendly criticism he has given me, and . . .

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