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Episcopacy

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Chapter Summary

Most of what has been written about Hooker on episcopacy concerns his position on the origin of the bishop?s office. This chapter addresses this in some detail, but there are also other, ?non-foundational? aspects of Hooker?s account deserving of attention: first, what the author shall refer to as his sociology of episcopacy; second, his biting critique of bishops in his own time, the golden age of Elizabeth I; and third, most especially, his idea of what it takes to be a good bishop. With regard to each of these topics?origins, sociology, bishops? faults, and the episcopal ideal?the chapter suggests the possible ecumenical significance of Hooker?s position. The chapter also puts Hooker?s treatment of episcopacy in context: the context of his own work and of the situation of English bishops at the end of the sixteenth century.

Keywords: Elizabeth I; English bishops; episcopacy; Richard Hooker

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