Logic and Flesh: Richard Hooker’s Sacramental Social Body




Simpson, Lucas

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This thesis argues that the scope of Richard Hooker’s critique in his Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie extends beyond its ostensive target of Elizabethan presbyterianism to what he saw as a more general dissolution of a framework of human self-understanding rooted in Christian metaphysics and sacramental polity. The foundation of Hooker’s revision of the conformist case, I argue, is not a critique of presbyterianism or Calvinism themselves but of their 14th-century nominalist roots. Whereas recent scholarship has focused on the extent of Hooker’s consistency with the magisterial reformers, I aim to situate Hooker within the broader intellectual developments, beyond merely doctrinal-confessional concerns, that would come to characterize modern thought. Such a broadened approach offers valuable insight into the competing tensions in the intellectual climate of nascent modernity and, more importantly, situates Hooker within the context of the epoch-level stakes that, as I argue, he himself envisioned for his project. I develop this line of interpretation with two case studies—the first on Hooker’s critique of newly developing reforms in logic, the second on his sacramentology. In both cases, Hooker adopts a position whose metaphysical-theological foundations are an explicit departure from the Calvinist-derived consensus framework of the Admonition Controversy.



Richard Hooker, Elizabethan, sacraments, politics, liturgy