Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Reflections on the Theology of Richard Hooker: An Elizabethan Addresses Modern Anglicanism

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Reflections on the Theology of Richard Hooker: An Elizabethan Addresses Modern Anglicanism

Article excerpt

JOHN BOOTY. Reflections on the Theology of Richard Hooker: An Elizabethan Addresses Modern Anglicanism. Sewanee, Tennessee: The University of'ihe South Press, 1998, Pp.vi + 219, index. $25.00 (cloth); $12.50 (paper).

In this work, the product of a teacher and scholar who has devoted much of his professional career to the life and thought of Richard Hooker, John Booty examines the relevance of Hooker's sixteenth-century theology for contemporary postmodern culture. Weaving his reflections on modern spiritual and material problems with a sympathetic reading of Hooker's understanding of human sinfulness, the need for grace, the importance of reason and the church in the search for union with God, and the place of redemption in restoring a broken world, Booty offers a strong case for the import of Hooker's counsel at the start of a new century.

Hooker, like so many of his predecessors from St. Paul to Aquinas to Donne, stressed the interconnectedness of creation, and Booty reminds us of the re-emergence of this perspective in contemporary physics, environmentalism, global business and communications. Men and women today continue to search for union-sometimes aesthetically through art, sometimes through science, sometimes through spirituality-with the wholeness at the center of reality, the meaning beyond transitory forms. In words not unfamiliar to a much older Vedic tradition, Booty insists that for Hooker the created world is not distinct from the eternal one. "The infinite is in the finite as the creator is in the creation," we are told, and theories "that make 'man' not only the measure of all things but that for which all else exits" are in the end both self-centered and the cause of many of our current environmental dilemmas (p. 20). The author tells us that to worship God is to be mindful of all great traditions, Western and Kastern, and that scriptural truth "can be illuminated by truths from other sources" (p. 23). Hooker, we are reminded, represents a Christian tradition which makes no claims to having all truths within its grasp, where there is abundant room for additional contributions to the human store.

Hooker emphasized the "lawful" nature of the universe, a hierarchy of divine order reaching down from the law eternal though the law of nature, and continuing with laws political and social. …

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