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Royal supremacy

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Chapter Summary

In Book VIII of the Lawes Hooker answers opposition to the Royal Supremacy stemming from indictments brought against it by Roman Catholics as well as English presbyterians. Both opponents of the Elizabethan church agreed on the necessity of an institutionally autonomous church led by a divinely grounded spiritual authority, and consequently both argued that ?unto no Civill Prince or Governour there may be given such power of Ecclesiastical Dominion as by the Lawes of this Land belongeth unto the Supreme Regent thereof.? In contrast to theocratic justifications of royal authority, he argues that no particular institutional structure is divinely mandated for the church and consequently the distribution of ecclesiastical authority is left to the discretion of each church. In the Eighth Book Hooker outlines a theory of royal ecclesiastical dominion founded on principles laid out in the earlier books.

Keywords: Book VIII; Ecclesiastical Dominion; Elizabethan church; English Presbyterians; Lawes; Richard Hooker; Roman Catholics; Royal Supremacy

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