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Relocating Richard Hooker - Theological Method and the Character of Anglicanism

HOBDAY, PHILIP,PETER (2021) Relocating Richard Hooker - Theological Method and the Character of Anglicanism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The coherence of Anglicanism’s claim to be both ‘catholic’ and ‘reformed’ has often been challenged, with the tradition regularly characterised as more one than the other, or as steering a middle way between the two. Such competing interpretations frequently influence and / or advance readings of Richard Hooker, one of Anglicanism’s foremost theologians, who is often characterised as essentially catholic, basically reformed, or a proponent of a third way between the two. Most such characterisations of Hooker, and the presumptions of tension or even incoherence within Anglican identity on this point, assume that ‘catholic’ and ‘reformed’ are opposites on a theological spectrum, fundamentally divergent or even irreconcilable, such that Hooker and Anglicanism must be located on that spectrum. This study argues that closely reading Hooker alongside a representative theologian of each tradition (the catholic Thomas Aquinas and the reformed John Calvin) reveals the notion of such a spectrum is fundamentally flawed and so attempts to locate Hooker and / or Anglicanism in relation to it are misplaced. Tracing the accounts of the three theologians on theological method (defined as the authority of, and relationship between, scripture, tradition, and reason) reveals substantial and surprising continuity between the three theologians in an area where it is often argued they disagree. The investigation thereby yields a fresh reading of Hooker as both catholic and reformed (not one or the other, or a middle way between the two), with a coherent and realistic theological method. Likewise it shows that Anglicanism can claim a coherent theological method and a genuinely catholic and reformed identity, with those categorisations as mutually enhancing not mutually exclusive. The possibilities and limitations of this theological method and account of Anglicanism are illustrated by application to contemporary disputes about faith and reason; authority in the church; and the definition of marriage.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Richard Hooker; Thomas Aquinas; John Calvin; scripture; tradition; revelation; reason; theological method; ecumenism; Anglicanism; reformation
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Jan 2021 13:51

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