BOOK IV OF 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 fourth volume of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Book IV of Hooker’s Laws, in which Hooker defends the legitimacy of the Church of England’s reformed catholic liturgy. Arguing that Protestants must be guided by a positive vision of the purpose of worship, and not a negative reaction to Roman Catholic practice, Hooker surveys common Puritan objections to traditional liturgy and finds them wanting. Along the way, Hooker considers how Christians should understand the Jewish ceremonial law and what Christians should do when ceremonies cause a weaker brother to stumble. Still as relevant today as when it was penned more than four centuries ago, Book IV of the Laws offers an enduring vision of moderation and respect for the past that remains forthrightly Protestant.