Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas

Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas

Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas

Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas

Excerpt

Although much of this book was written earlier, the chapters on the Reformation, on Hooker's life and subsequent influence, and that entitled the Final Assessment, together with some examination of Bishop Gauden's writings, were completed during the recent war, in evacuation conditions in the south of Cornwall remote from libraries. The book as a whole was finished by 1944; but even since then important contributions have been made to the history of political science, while the life of the Church of England has not ceased to develop significantly. Thus a few remarks in the text may seem to be "dated". Moreover, the writing of this book has been constantly interrupted by the busy and exacting duties of a head master and residentiary canon. To undertake this task was suggested to me originally by my friend and tutor, the late Sir William Holdsworth, and I am grateful for this opportunity of expressing my affection for that marvellous man, as humble in character as he was distinguished in learning. I also record my gratitude to another departed friend and former colleague, Captain John Anthony of the Grenadier Guards, a very gallant Christian gentleman, but for whose constant encouragement I should never have persevered in this study. If the book had been worthy of a Dedication, I should have dedicated it to these two splendid friends.

I hope that in respect of political theory and of Church history this book may be of some service to those interested in the problems confronting Church and State during a most influential period in our affairs. I set out from the Anglo-Catholic position in which I had been brought up, but I confess I became obliged to conclude that Hooker is not properly to be regarded as a High Anglican. Thus, I cannot accept the Seventh Book as genuine Hooker, though doubtless much of it is. In the text I have ventured to suggest, by way of example, some passages which seem to me suspect: others may not regard them so. None the less, the fact remains that the Seventh Book cannot be squared with the first Five Books in certain material points. Further than that it is dangerous to go; but that conceded, we must go to the Books published in their author's lifetime, and not to Book VII, to discover certainly what Hooker believed about the Church.

The last Chapter, which may be felt to be provocative, is at all . . .

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