Perichoresis 12.1

Perichoresis 12.1 (2014)


‘The Edification of the Church’: Richard Hooker’s Theology of Worship and the Protestant Inward / Outward Disjunction

W. Bradford Littlejohn


Sixteenth-century English Protestants struggled with the legacy left them by the Lutheran reformation: a strict disjunction between inward and outward that hindered the development of a robust theology of worship. For Luther, outward forms of worship had more to do with the edification of the neighbour than they did with pleasing God. But what exactly did ‘edification’ mean? On the one hand, English Protestants sought to avoid the Roman Catholic view that certain elements of worship held an intrinsic spiritual value; on the other hand, many did not want to imply that forms of worship were spiritually arbitrary and had a merely civil value. Richard Hooker developed his theology of worship in response to this challenge, seeking to maintain a clear distinction between the inward worship of the heart and the outward forms of public worship, while refusing to disassociate the two. The result was a concept of edification which sought to do justice to both civil and spiritual concerns, without, pace Peter Lake and other scholars, conceding an inch to a Catholic theology of worship PDF

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 in the Theological Rhetoric of the Admonition Controversy

Daniel F. Graves


This paper discusses competing notions of the concept of ‘order’ in the Admonition Controversy with respect to the interpretation of the decorum of 1 Corinthians 14:26-30, a text principally concerned with order in worship. As the controversy ensued the understanding of ‘order’ broadened to include church discipline and polity, both Puritan and Conformist alike constructed their polemic with a rhetorical appeal to the Pauline text in question-interpretations at odds with each other. Furthermore, both sides understood their interpretation as standing faithfully in the tradition of Calvin. This paper follows the appeals to 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 by Advanced Protestants and Conformists from its use in the treatise ‘Of Ceremonies’ found in the Book of Common Prayer, through the Admonition to the Parliament, the responses of John Whitgift and Thomas Cartwright, and finally Richard Hooker’s Preface to the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie. PDF

‘By Force of Participation and Conjunction in Him’: John Jewel and Richard Hooker on Union with Christ

André A. Gazal


The author of a Christian Letter cited a passage from John Jewel’s A Reply to Harding’s Answer in which the first major apologist of the Elizabethan Settlement spoke of the role of faith and the sacraments in union with Christ. Andrew Willet, the likely author of this work, quoted it against Richard Hooker in order to show how the latter contravened the sacramental theology of the national Church as interpreted by Jewel as one of the foremost expositors of its doctrine. Jewel, however, in his Reply to Harding’s Answer, enumerates four means of the Christian’s union with Christ: the Incarnation, faith, baptism, and the Eucharist-a fact overlooked in A Christian Letter by its author in his endeavor to impeach Hooker’s orthodoxy. Proceeding from the observation that both Jewel and Hooker believed that the locus of Christian salvation is union with Christ, this essay compares the two divines’ respective views of this union by examining the manner in which they understand the role of each of these means forming and maintaining this union. On the basis of this comparison, the essay argues that A Christian Letter misrepresented Jewel’s position and that Hooker’s view of union with Christ was essentially the same as the late bishop of Salisbury’s, notwithstanding some differences in detail and emphases. The article concludes with the opinion that Hooker represents continuity of a particular soteriological emphasis in the Elizabethan Church that can possibly be traced back to Jewel as a representative of the Reformed tradition stressing this doctrine. PDF

‘From the Footstool to the Throne of God’: Methexis, Metaxu, and Eros in Richard Hooker’s of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity

Paul Dominiak


Commentators have commonly noted the metaphysical role of participation (methexis) in Richard Hooker’s Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity: participation both describes how creation is suspended from God and also how believers share in Christ through grace. Yet, the role in Hooker’s thought of the attendant Platonic language of ‘between’ (metaxu) and ‘desire’ (eros) has not received sustained attention. Metaxu describes the ‘in-between’ quality of participation: the participant and the participated remain distinct but are dynamically related as the former originates from and returns to the perfection of the latter. Within this metaxological dynamic, desire (eros) acts as the physical and psychic motor driving the move between potentiality and perfect actuality, that is to say from multiplicity to divine unity: desire aims at goodness and so ultimately tends towards that which is goodness itself, namely God’s nature. For Hooker, desire becomes couched in amorous affectivity and has an erotic register. This essay explores, then, how Hooker appeals to a language of ‘between’ and ‘desire’ within his accounts of participation. First, it examines how human beings exist between the footstool and throne of God in Hooker’s legal ontology. Here, angelic desire acts as a hierarchical pattern of and spur to erotic participation in the divine nature. Second, this essay examines how theurgy transforms desire in Hooker’s account of liturgical participation as a redemptive commerce between heaven and earth. Here, angels still act as invisible, hierarchical intermediaries within earthly worship, but soon give way to immediate grace through participation in Christ within the sacraments. PDF

Finding God in the Darkness: A Fresh Look at Richard Hooker’s a Learned and Comfortable Sermon of the Certaintie and Perpetuitie of Faith in the Elect

Andrea Russell


Richard Hooker’s sermon A Learned and Comfortable Sermon of the Certaintie and Perpetuitie of Faith in the Elect appears, on the face of it, to be further evidence of his commitment to Reformed theology. History, however, tells a slightly different story as readers have debated just exactly what theological position Hooker was taking. Over the years it has attracted comment from those who have used it both to align Hooker with and to separate Hooker from the Magisterial Reformers. These debates continue. This article, however, does not pursue this particular method of engagement. Instead, through a careful reading of the text, Hooker’s more complex and often startling theology is revealed- as he locates God’s presence in the pivot between doubt and despair, in places where God is thought to be absent. Hooker’s aim seems to be to find God in the darkness and in so doing he transcends the usual questions and debates that surround the doctrine of certainty and offers to present day readers a creative and sensitive approach to the anxiety caused by doubt. PDF

The Influence of the Renaissance on Richard Hooker

Egil Grislis


Like many writers after the Renaissance, Hooker was influenced by a number of classical and Neo-Platonic texts, especially by Cicero, Seneca, Hermes Trimegistus, and Pseudo-Dionysius. Hooker’s regular allusions to these thinkers help illuminate his own work but also his place within the broader European context and the history of ideas. This paper addresses in turn the reception of Cicero and Seneca in the early Church through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Hooker’s use of Ciceronian and Senecan ideas, and finally Hooker’s use of Neo-Platonic texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus and Dionysius the Areopagite. Hooker will be shown to distinguish himself as a sophisticated and learned interpreter who balances distinctive motifs such as Scripture and tradition, faith, reason, experience, and ecclesiology with a complex appeal to pagan and Christian sources and ideas. PDF