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Reason and law

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Chapter Summary

Richard Hooker?s radical, foundational proposal at the outset of the first book of his treatise Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie is easily summarized: ?God is Law?. From a metaphysical or theological point of view this claim taken by itself is neither original nor wholly remarkable. For Hooker the foundation of a theological reflection on ethics is the twofold knowledge of God. In Hooker's view strife within the Elizabethan Church over constitutional forms ultimately stems from disagreement over the interpretation of the proper relation between the two summa genera of law. Hooker's generic division of laws rests on a carefully defined tension between natural and revealed theology. His affirmation of the authority of human reason consequent upon the revelation of the divine wisdom to the observer of 'the glorious workes of Nature' is a crucial presupposition of his theologico-political system.

Keywords: divine wisdom; Elizabethan Church; ethics; God; human reason; Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie; Richard Hooker; theologico-political system



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