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Hooker, Richard (1554–1600)

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-C017-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C017-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/hooker-richard-1554-1600/v-1

Article Summary

Hooker’s Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593–1662) is the first major work of English prose in the fields of philosophy, theology and political theory. After setting out an entire worldview in terms of the single idea of law, Hooker attempted to justify – and, arguably, to transform – the religious and political institutions of his day. Hooker’s work contributed to later, more narrowly political, political thought (Locke cited ‘the judicious Hooker’ at crucial points in his Second Treatise of Civil Government), but the Laws is chiefly significant for articulating the ideal of a society coherent in and through its religion, a body politic which succeeds in being – not merely having – a church. In Hooker’s England this meant that royal authority in religion was extensive, but derived from the community and limited by law. Modern separations of politics from religion and of philosophy from edification have made him difficult to assimilate. More recent critiques of Enlightenment secularism and purely technical philosophy help make him again intelligible.

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Citing this article:
McGrade, A.S.. Hooker, Richard (1554–1600), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C017-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/hooker-richard-1554-1600/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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