Although Richard Hooker (1554–1600) is now known principally as the author of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, in his lifetime the Tractates and Sermons brought him greater notoriety. Hooker’s views on justification, the perseverance of faith, and the relationship of the Church of Rome to the reformed Church of England were widely reported, and texts of the tracts were extensively circulated in manuscript.
Thanks to the meticulous editing of Laetitia Yeandle, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the contemporary impact of these debates can now be appreciated for the first time. These tracts provide a unique perspective on the turbulent world of late Elizabethan theology. In addition, they lay the doctrinal foundations of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity itself and—with the excellent commentary of Egil Grislis, Professor of Theology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, enable us to trace the intellectual formation of sixteenth-century England’s most innovative and provocative theologian.
The volume includes a newly discovered letter; three newly attributed sermon fragments; and analysis by P. F. Forte of Hooker’s distinctive preaching style.