“Nothing that can claim to be truly of the Church need shrink from the sober light of “scholasticism.” … Fear of Scholasticism is the mark of a false prophet” Karl Barth I. 1 § 1-7 (pg. 274)
One of the first things you hear as you become an Anglican is that “Anglicanism doesn’t have a confession like Lutheranism or Calvinism, neither does it have a Pope, but we do have a prayer book.” (I think this attitude tends to look past the history and place of the Creeds and Articles of Religion but whatev) True as that is in certain respects one is also quickly told that Richard Hooker is a capstone of Anglican theology.
This being, then, the case, it seems obligatory for any of us who would be fashioned a theologian to pass through the fires of “our” Scholastic par excellence. Appropriately famous for sermons such as ‘A Learned Discourse of Justification‘ and ‘Of the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith in the Elect,’ it is for his Of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity that he is most highly honored. The fact that historically it is in irregular dogmatics that Anglicans have excelled, not to mention the length and depth of this work, and also because Hooker is often assumed to be merely a lesser son of greater sires, means that he receives praise but the Laws go largely unread, or at least do not continue to wield sustained influence.
But Anglican theology is experiencing a renaissance and thanks to Barth, as well as the continental turn to religion, dogmatics has been loosed from the trap of 18th and 19th century apologetics. It’s hip and cool to bring older authors into conversation with newer ones. It’s a perfect time, then, to look to the learned and judicious divine.
And so a friend of mine, Robb Beck, and I, are setting about the task of blogging through some Richard Hooker. We’ve set up a new site here. We will be starting to post sometime soon after Easter. Our plan is to blog initially only books I and V but are open to doing more should we actually succeed in the initial task. The pace is purposely slow: The primary reason being that we already are quite busy and don’t want to overcommit, but the second is that we hope this more relaxed pace will give readers an chance to read and discuss alongside. I plan to use this as an opportunity to challenge myself to think harder and more clearly and I hope that at least a few of you will join me there. Theophiliacs will continue to be where I blog more diverse subjects.