Radicalism: When Reform Becomes Revolution
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 initial offering of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Trust, we present Hooker’s Preface to the work, which offer a short and accessible sample of his profound insight and rhetorical genius. Much more than a mere preface, this wide-ranging discourse on the psychology of religious and political radicalism, and the need to balance the demands of conscience with legal order, offers startlingly relevant insights for the church and the task of Christian citizenship today.
About the Authors
Richard Hooker (1553/4-1600) was the pre-eminent theological writer of the Elizabethan church, and many would say in the entire history of the Church of England.
Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D, University of Edinburgh), is the President of the Davenant Trust and a leading scholar of Richard Hooker’s thought, having authored Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work (Cascade, 2015), and The Promise and Peril of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology (Eerdmans, forthcoming 2017).
Brian Marr is an editor and researcher at Canon Press, an alumnus of New Saint Andrews College, and a devoted servant of the liberal arts.
Bradley Belschner is a systems analyst at EMSI, a determined generalist, and an enthusiast of Reformation theology.
The Davenant Trust
The Davenant Trust supports the renewal of Christian wisdom for the contemporary church. It seeks to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build networks of friendship and collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness. See more at www.davenanttrust.org.
The Library of Early English Protestantism
The Library of Early English Protestantism is a project to make available in new, modernized, scholarly but accessible editions seminal writings from key but neglected 16- and 17th-century Church of England theologians. Today, as the challenges of late modernity are leading to renewed growth of Protestant irenicism, and many churches both Reformed and Anglican are seeking to deepen and broaden their understanding of their theological tradition, to provide resources for a thoughtful and irenic orthodoxy, these texts deserve to be retrieved and re-read. Our aim is to make that as easy as possible for contemporary clergy, seminaries, students, and theologically-concerned laypeople. Learn more.