The Law and the Origins of Political Order in Richard Hooker’s Political Theology

Tomasz Tulejski

Richard Hooker was one of the most important English theologians and political thinkers of the 16th century. He is regarded as the originator of Anglicanism and the greatest adversary of Puritan extremists. His fundamental work Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie is a repudiation of both the key principles of Puritanism (as formulated by Thomas Cartwright and William Travers) and the doctrine of Rome. While the Roman Catholics put Scripture and tradition on a parity as the touchstone of faith and the Puritans would have no authority but the Bible, this article argues that Hooker steered clear of either extreme. His formula was to accept Scripture’s absolute authority where it spoke plainly and unequivocally and to consult the tradition of the church on the points which the Bible was silent or ambiguous about. However, the solution would be incomplete without human reason, which, he insisted, must be used and obeyed whenever Scripture and tradition needed clarification or were faced with a new set of circumstances. Therefore, his legal philosophy, rooted in St. Thomas Aquinas’ theology and a reformed concept of justification, relies on the combined guidance of the Revelation, tradition and reason.
Słowa kluczowe: Hooker, Anglicanism, law of nature, Puritanism

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