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BOOKS II AND III OF RICHARD HOOKER’S LAWS: A MODERNIZATION


Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity is one of the great landmarks of Protestant theological literature, and indeed of English literature generally. However, on account of its difficult and archaic style, it is scarcely read today. The time has come to translate it into modern English so that Hooker may teach a new generation of churchmen and Christian leaders about law, reason, Scripture, church, and politics.

In this third volume of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Books II-III of Hooker’s Laws, comprising Hooker’s treatment of Scripture’s authority in relation to the authority of reason and human law. Hooker contends that although Scripture does not change, human affairs do, and so our application of Scripture to changing human societies (including the Church) requires the use of reason, prudence, and historical awareness. Scripture is our highest authority, but not the only authority that regulates human life. Perhaps more than any other part of the Laws, Hooker’s careful analysis of the relationship between the Word of God and the words of man remains intensely relevant to Christians today struggling to uphold the authority of the Bible without distorting it.

About the Author

Richard Hooker (1553/4-1600) was the pre-eminent theological writer of the Elizabethan church, and many would say in the entire history of the Church of England.

ReformationTheology_frontcover

Reformation Theology

To understand why the Reformation unfolded as it did, we must understand the ideas that were so forcefully articulated, opposed, and debated by Protestants and Catholics. For Protestant or Catholic believers in this forgetful age, the need to understand these disputed doctrines, and the logic and coherence that linked them together, is all the more imperative. This is what this volume seeks to offer for the first time: a primary source reader focused squarely on the theological questions that drove the Reformation.

Beginning with the first rumblings of conflict in the late medieval period and continuing until the solidification of Protestant confessions in the early 17th century, this collection of thirty-two texts brings the modern reader face-to-face with the key men whose convictions helped shape the course of history. Concise historical introductions accompanying each text bring these writings to life by recounting the stories and conflicts that gave birth to these texts, and highlighting the enduring themes that we can glean from them.

KEY TOPICS INCLUDE: the doctrine of the church, and its relation to the state; the doctrine of the eucharist, and transubstantiation in particular; the doctrine of justification sola fide and the place of works; the meaning of the Protestant commitment to sola Scriptura; and others.

KEY AUTHORS INCLUDE: Marsilius of Padua, John Wycliffe, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Martin Luther, Thomas More, John Calvin, The Council of Trent, Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker, Robert Belllarmine, and many more.

Experience The Reformation First-Hand

Experience The Reformation First-Hand

Experience The Reformation First-Hand

The Richard Hooker Modernization Project

Radicalism: When Reform Becomes Revolution

In this initial offering of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Hooker’s Preface to the work, which offer a short and accessible sample of his profound insight and rhetorical genius. Much more than a mere preface, this wide-ranging discourse on the psychology of religious and political radicalism, and the need to balance the demands of conscience with legal order, offers startlingly relevant insights for the church and the task of Christian citizenship today.

Divine Law and Human Nature

In this second volume we present Book I of Hooker’s Laws, for which he is perhaps most famous. Here he offers a sweeping overview of his theology of law, law being that order and measure by which God governs the universe, and by which all creatures—humans above all—conduct their lives and affairs. In an age when  natural creation order is under wholesale attack, even within the church, Hooker’s luminous treatment of the relation of Scripture and nature, faith and reason is a priceless gift to the church.

The Word of God and the Words of Man

In this third volume of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Books II-III of Hooker’s Laws, comprising Hooker’s treatment of Scripture’s authority in relation to the authority of reason and human law. Hooker contends that although Scripture does not change, human affairs do, and so our application of Scripture to changing human societies (including the Church) requires the use of reason, prudence, and historical awareness.

LEARN ABOUT THE RICHARD HOOKER MODERNIZATION PROJECT

Convivium Proceedings

HealingNations1

FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS

Proceedings from the 2nd Annual Convivium Irenicum. The authors use the doctrine of Creation to explore the relation of philosophy to theology, of the church to the saeculum, and of the kingdom of Christ to the visible church. This volume brings together careful investigations of established and emerging historians and theologians, exploring how these questions have been addressed at different points in Christian history, and what they mean for us today.

LawLiberty2

FOR LAW AND FOR LIBERTY

Proceedings from the 3rd Annual Convivium Irenicum. Together, the essays in this volume challenge us to recognize the breadth and depth of our heritage of Protestant political wisdom, and the complexity and contingency of civic life to which its principles must be artfully applied, which rules out any attempt to inscribe any particular instance of Christian politics as a model for all time.

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BEYOND CALVIN

Proceedings from the 4th Annual Convivium Irenicum. The Reformed tradition today often carries a reputation for narrowness and dogmatism, rather than breadth and diversity. But it was not always so. The essays in this volume offer an introduction to the theological rigor and surprising breadth of the early Reformed tradition.

Davenant Guides

Jesus and Pacifism

Pacifism has gone from the margins to the mainstream, even among evangelicals. Christians have turned to the works of Stanley Hauerwas, and John Howard Yoder, seeking a more authentic way to walk in the way of Jesus. In this book, Andrew Fulford shows that these arguments, while well-intentioned, fail to take seriously the whole biblical witness and even the teaching of Jesus.
“In this concise little book, the author does more than merely refute the case for Christian pacifism…highly recommended for anyone who is struggling with this issue.” —Dr. Craig A. Carter, Tyndale University College.
The Two Kingdoms

In recent years, fresh controversy has erupted over the meaning and relevance of the Reformation’s “two-kingdoms” doctrine. At stake in such debates is not simply the shape of Christian politics, but the meaning of the church, the nature of human and divine authority, and the scope of Christian discipleship.
In this guide, Bradford Littlejohn sketches the history of the doctrine and clears away common misunderstandings, and shows that the two-kingdoms doctrine can offer a valuable framework for thinking about pastoring, politics, and even financial stewardship.
Natural Law

Even believers often navigate the world based on knowledge not always derived from Scripture. Frequently misrepresented as an assertion of the autonomous power of human reason or as a uniquely Roman Catholic doctrine, natural law has actually been an integral part of orthodox Christian theology since the beginning, and is even asserted in Scripture. In this brief guide, David Haines and Andrew Fulford explain the philosophical foundations of natural law, clear up common misunderstandings about the term, and demonstrate the robust biblical basis for natural law reasoning.

Davenant Retrievals

The doctrine of the church is often perceived as the weakest link in Protestant theology. These essays argue, on the contrary, that the Reformers’ radical re-thinking of the definition of the church is one of the Reformation’s greatest treasures. Not only is “mere Protestant” ecclesiology firmly in concert with the multifaceted biblical witness, but it is also manifestly in accord with natural reason and the lived experience of Christians throughout the ages. As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this volume seeks to honor the Protestant heritage by remembering, reclaiming, and critically reflecting upon the relationship between the gospel promise and the community which it calls into being.

This volume features revised and expanded essays from various issues of Ad Fontes and also essays only available here.

Final Cover

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