The Folger Library Edition of The Works of Richard Hooker
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The first major voice of Anglican theology, Hooker’s defense of the Elizabethan Church against Puritan attack set Anglicanism’s tone for centuries. The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity added Thomas Aquinas to English politics, sets forth a theory of natural law, and luminously illustrates the age’s ethical, political, and religious assumptions.
In this third volume of a much-needed critical edition of the Works of Richard Hooker are the posthumous books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Hooker planned the Laws in eight books, but he died shortly after publication of Book Five. Books Six, Seven, and Eight contain his analysis of jurisdiction, episcopacy, and the royal supremacy. The volume also includes Hooker’s autograph notes toward those texts (brought to light by P. G. Stanwood in the course of his research) and the contemporary notes by George Cranmer and Edwin Sandys on a lost draft of Book Six.
Though Hooker (1554–1600) is now known principally for his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, in his lifetime Tractates and Sermons brought greater notoriety. His 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 the tracts extensively circulated.