Continuing the Protestant tradition in the Church of England : the influence of the continental magisterial reformation on the doctrine of justification in the early theology of Richard Hooker as reflected in his "A learned discourse of justification, workes, and how the foundation of faith is overthrown" (1586)
This dissertation demonstrates that Richard Hooker’s doctrine of justification, as reflected in his A learned Discourse of Justification, Workes, and How the Foundation of Faith is Overthrown, continues the Protestant tradition of Lutheran and Reformed theology, in spite of various claims which associate Hooker with Catholicism and via media Anglicanism. Though it stays in the line established by W. J. Torrance Kirby and Nigel Atkinson, who limited their arguments in favour of Hooker’s Reformed theology to Martin Luther and John Calvin, this thesis makes reference also to Philip Melanchthon, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer and Theodore Beza. As a result of the fact that the vast majority of studies in Richard Hooker’s theology have concentrated on his later theology of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, this dissertation is limited to his early theology and more specifically, to his A Learned Discourse of Justification. The first chapter is an updated study in Richard Hooker scholarship, with comments on the most important works in the field. The next three chapters present fundamental aspects of the doctrine of justification in Lutheran, Early Reformed, and Classical Reformed theology with special reference to the ideas which were taken over by Richard Hooker himself. A chapter on the doctrine of justification in the time of Richard Hooker follows and introduces the debates which shaped his soteriology. The last four chapters provide a detailed analysis and some concluding remarks on Richard Hooker’s understanding of justification and especially on his concept of righteousness as the essence of justification. The righteousness of justification as objective faith centres on Hooker’s concern with the salvation of Catholics, which provides the starting point of his minute analysis of justification. The practical implications of this doctrine are revealed in Hooker’s treatment of the righteousness of sanctification as subjective faith, which discloses his fundamental belief in the importance of Scripture for the salvation of humanity.