HOOKER, Richard

(1554-1600)
Richard Hooker was a scholar and theologian of considerable ability whose principal work is the most eloquent defense of the Church of England of its time as well as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan prose. Hooker was born in or near the city of Exeter, where he attended grammar school and ac­quired an early reputation as a capable student. Possibly through his uncle s influence, he came to the attention of John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury and author of the Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae (Apology for the Church of England), who sponsored Hooker s studies at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, from 1568 to 1571. His time at Oxford brought Hooker into contact with a diversity of theological backgrounds, but he would follow his principal influences in the paths of conservative ecclesiastical reform. Izaak Walton, Hooker s early bi­ographer, gives us the picture of a gifted scholar with retiring manners and a deep love of the contemplative life. His personal shyness notwithstanding, he was fully capable of intelligently and vigorously defending his work and beliefs when necessary.
In 1581 Hooker took holy orders and preached his first sermon at St. Paul's Cross in London, lodging with a prosperous merchant, John Churchman, whose daughter he would marry seven years later. In 1585 Hooker was given a vicariate in Drayton-Beauchamp, but after three months he was appointed master of the Temple Church in London s center of legal studies. The post embroiled him in a public dispute over doctrinal issues of the Anglican church with Walter Trav­ers, the assistant master of the Temple Church and a principal exponent of English Puritanism. Hooker, critical of Puritanism as dangerous to civil and ecclesiastical order, met sharp opposition from Travers, particularly on his in­terpretation of predestination and human will. In 1586 Travers was silenced by the archbishop of Canterbury, but continued his criticism of Hooker in his appeal to the Privy Council, which circulated in print that same year. Hooker s own reply was not published until 1612. It is worth noting that in spite of their differences, Hooker and Travers avoided the bitter exchange of invective com­mon to polemical controversy at the time.
It may have been this dispute, and certainly the Anglican/Puritan tensions that engendered it, that prompted Hooker to undertake his landmark work, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. A highly articulate appeal to civil law, philosophy, and theology, the book defends the Anglican administrative structure and use of ceremony against Puritan criticism, which regarded such conventions as emu­lating too closely the errors of Roman Catholicism. Central to Hooker s argu­ment is his belief in the ability of human reason to develop certain laws useful to ecclesiastical and civil order without sole reliance on scriptural authority, a point deeply inimical to the Puritan stance. Hooker saw five of the book's eight volumes into print before his death in 1600, continuously working throughout subsequent ecclesiastical appointments at Boscombe (1593) and Bishopsbourne (1595). The remaining three volumes were published between 1648 and 1662 and continue to generate debate about their textual integrity and authenticity. Theological issues aside, Hooker s book was praised in its own time for its clarity and stylistic elegance. His other surviving works, including sermons, correspondence, and some fragmentary writings, were also published posthu­mously.
Bibliography
S. Archer, Richard Hooker, 1983.
R. K. Faulkner, Richard Hooker and the Politics ofa Christian England, 1981.
Michael J. Medwick

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hooker,Richard — Hooker, Richard. 1554? 1600. English writer and theologian. His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594) was central to the formation of Anglican theology. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hooker, Richard — born March 1554?, Heavitree, Exeter, Devon, Eng. died Nov. 2, 1600, Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, Kent English clergyman and theologian. He attended the University of Oxford, became a fellow of Corpus Christi College in 1577, and was ordained… …   Universalium

  • Hooker, Richard — (c. 1554–1600)    Theologian.    Hooker was born near Exeter and was educated at the University of Oxford. After ordination he served in various parishes of the Church of England. He is remembered for his monumental Treatise on the Laws of… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Hooker, Richard — (mar. ¿1554?, Heavitree, Exeter, Devon, Inglaterra–2 nov. 1600, Bishopsbourne, cerca de Canterbury, Kent). Clérigo y teólogo inglés. Asistió a la Universidad de Oxford, se convirtió en miembro del Corpus Christi College en 1577 y fue ordenado en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • HOOKER, RICHARD —    English Church theologian and ecclesiastical writer, born in Exeter; famous as the author of Ecclesiastical Polity, in defence of the Church against the Puritans, characterised by Stopford Brooke as a stately work, and the first monument of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • HOOKER, Richard — (1554 1600)    moderate English ANGLICAN theologian who defended EPISCOPACY and attacked what he saw as the excesses of PURITAN enthusiasm. His great work is Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593 1662, 7 Vols.) …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Hooker, Richard — (1554? 1600)    Theologian, b. near Exeter, of a family the original name of which was Vowell. His ability and gentleness as a schoolboy recommended him to the notice of Bishop Jewel, who sent him to Corpus Christi Coll., Oxf., where he graduated …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Richard Hooker — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Richard Hooker Richard Hooker (Marzo de 1554 – 3 de noviembre de 1600) fue un sacerdote y teólogo de influencia …   Wikipedia Español

  • Richard Hooker — (Heavitree, près d Exeter, mars 1554 3 novembre 1600), était un théologien anglais ; il est l un des fondateurs (avec Thomas Cranmer et Matthew Parker) de la pensée théologique anglicane. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Richard Hooker — (* März 1554; † 3. November 1600) war ein anglikanischer Theologe. Er gilt mit Thomas Cranmer und Matthew Parker als der Mitbegründer des Anglikanischen Theologischen Gedankenguts. In seinem zweiten Treatise of …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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