I’m pleased to announce that this week, I sent the final manuscript of my book, Richard Hooker: A Guide to His Life and Work off to Cascade Books. It is somewhat unorthodox, I know, to publish a popularized version of your research before publishing your dissertation for more academic audiences, but the timing just worked out better this way. In any case, this fits well with my commitment to keep the focus of my writing on the church at large, and especially Reformed and evangelical churches here in America, rather than on academic audiences that may or may not really give a damn about what Hooker still has to offer us theologically. That said, I don’t think this work is un-academic; certainly it is the distillation of years of research into the English Reformation, Richard Hooker, and the early Reformed tradition. I still feel like I’m only knee-deep in most of those inquiries, to be sure, but hopefully I have something of value to share with broader audiences.
Here is an excerpt from my Preface, summarizing what I hope to achieve with this book.
“First, I hope to introduce Hooker to audiences that have barely heard of him, if at all. It is a sad fact that a great many educated, intelligent, theologically-interested readers, especially in North America, fall into this category. Although Hooker is being written about today more than ever, with the segmentation of disciplines and the growing divide between church and academy, he is being read about by fewer and fewer non-specialists. Perhaps the tide has begun to turn on that front; I am not sure. In any case, I hope this book will contribute to that turning of the tide. Even if I had little new to say about Hooker, if publishing a new book meant that more people got to know him (since people always buy new books sooner than old books), it might not be wasted effort.