Endorsements for my book on Richard Hooker

I am pleased to announce that my book, Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work, should be coming off the presses at Cascade Books within the next couple weeks.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting some excerpts and summaries, Lord willing, but first, it is with deep gratitude that I share the kind endorsements of two of the very finest Hooker scholars currently writing, Prof. Torrance Kirby and Rev. Can. Prof. Paul Avis:

“’Richard Hooker’ is a name that many church people have heard of, but few have ever dipped into his works. When encountering this greatest of Anglican theologians for the first time, we need a guide and interpreter. Dr Littlejohn’s compact study of Richard Hooker will fill a gap in the literature and prove an eye-opener to non-specialists. He brings to bear an impressive range and depth of scholarship and critical insight to set Hooker in the context of the controversies of his times and guides us through the maze of contemporary interpretations of Hooker’s thought and significance.”—Rev. Can. Prof. Paul Avis, Honorary Professor of Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Christian Church at the University of Exeter

“Brad Littlejohn’s monograph on Richard Hooker offers a splendidly accessible introduction to the ‘life and work’ of this eminent but popularly neglected early-modern English theologian and philosopher.  The book situates Hooker helpfully both in the broad context of the continental Reformation and in the polemics of the late Elizabethan church. Chapters investigate Hooker’s reputation as a pastor, philosopher, and polemicist. His standing among the early leaders of magisterial protestant reform is given particularly close and careful attention. The Hooker portrayed here is not the customary hagiography, but rather an illuminating revisionist impression. Littlejohn provides an insightful guide to Hooker’s approach to Law, Scripture, the doctrine of the church, and political theology. He observes in passing that ‘Protestants are often unsure where to turn to in finding a robust foundation for ethical and political reasoning in our tradition.’ This volume offers an excellent point of departure in this quest, and is highly recommended to both scholars and to a general, non-specialist readership.” —Prof. W.J. Torrance Kirby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Center for Research on Religion at McGill University

Everyman’s Hooker #2: “Jealousies, Heartburnings, Jars, and Discords”


From Preface, Chapter 2, paragraph 2:

It was the manner of those times (whether through men’s desire to enjoy alone the glory of their own enterprises, or else because the quickness of their occasions required present dispatch), so it was, that every particular Church did that within itself, which some few of their own thought good, by whom the rest were all directed. Such number of Churches then being, though free within themselves, yet small, common conference before hand might have eased them of much aftertrouble. But a greater inconvenience it bred, that every later endevoured to be certain degrees more removed from conformity with the Church of Rome, than the rest before had been: whereupon grew marvelous great dissimilitudes, and by reason thereof, jealousies, heartburnings, jars and discords amongst them. Which notwithstanding might have easily been prevented, if the orders which each Church did think fit and convenient for itself, had not so peremptorily been established under that high commanding form, which tendered them unto the people, as things everlastingly required by the law of that Lord of Lords, against whose statutes there is no exception to be taken. For by this mean it came to pass, that one Church could not but accuse and condemn another of disobedience to the will of Christ, in those things where manifest difference was between them; whereas the self same orders allowed, but yet established in more wary and suspense manner, as being to stand in force till God should give the opportunity of some general conference what might be best for every of them afterwards to do; this I say had both prevented all occasion of just dislike which others might take, and reserved a greater liberty unto the authors themselves of entering into farther consultation afterwards. Which though never so necessary they could not easily now admit, without some fear of derogation from their credit; and therefore that which once they had done, they became for ever after resolute to maintain.

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