Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Hooker's Blueprint: An Essence Outline of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Hooker's Blueprint: An Essence Outline of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity

Article excerpt

MICHAEL B. RUSSELL. Hooker's Blueprint: An Essence Outline of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. San Diego, California: Via Media Press, 2004. Pp. v + 276, introduction, index. $22.95 (paper).

Michael B. Russell has outlined Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity in its entirety. Some may see this book as a condensed version of Hooker's work, or a paraphrase, or an "idiot's guide," but such definitions are less than accurate. It is certainly not Hooker "for armchair theologians." Rather, it is perhaps best seen as an amplified distillation of the Laws, and as such, can be of considerable value. It can benefit scholars who focus in other areas but need to know what Hooker was all about; it can benefit clergy and lay leaders who do not have time to plumb the original text, but who wish to glean what wisdom Hooker might have for the contemporary church; and it will help Hooker scholars who lack immediate recall overcome that particular deficiency. One will miss the cadences of Hooker's language and the structure of his paragraphs, but one can discover quickly and with clarity the essence and continuity of his arguments and be prompted again and again to turn to the original when expansion is desired. There is very little commentary, and where the editor interjects himself it is most often simply to give a reason why the reader would do well to refer to Hooker himself. The index, unfortunately, is too condensed to be of much help.

Hooker's Blueprint is an accurate accounting. In some places the outline is too brief and the fullness of Hooker's argument is rather truncated; in other places the outline is not brief enough and the desired precision is lacking. …

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