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By Torrance Kirby, Rowan Williams

Richard Hooker was once a realized philosophical theologian and engaged polemicist of the later 16th century who defined and defended the Elizabethan non secular and political payment.

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The orders of ministry are fundamentally twofold: they are distinguished as presbyters (Hooker does not favour use of the term ‘priest’) and deacons, and both must be formally ordained for ministry. Some presbyters are elevated to the status of bishops, successors to the apostles and to whom the church has delegated the power of jurisdiction and order, including the power to ordain new members to the orders of presbyters and deacons. In defence of tithing Hooker claims that clergy and laity must actively support Christian ministry because the wealth of Christians is in fact God’s own property.

McGrade also compares Hooker’s use of patristic and medieval sources with the use of similar material by major continental Reformation and CounterReformation authors. The Elizabethan period was marked by heated theological exchanges as writers sought to ridicule, discredit, or vilify their opponents. Much was at stake: the religious identity of England, its international allegiances, and the character of the established Church of England. Brown Patterson traces the course of these exchanges, including that between Roman Catholics and defenders of the established Church and that between Puritan nonconformists and conformists to the established Church in a chapter titled ‘Elizabethan theological polemics’.

He was made a scholar of his College on 16 September 1577 and a full fellow in 1579. In July of that year he was appointed deputy professor of Hebrew and delivered the annual Hebrew lecture, a task that he continued to fulfil until his departure from Oxford. On 14 August 1579 he was ordained deacon by John Aylmer, bishop of London. On 9 October 1580 Hooker was briefly expelled from Oxford along with three other fellows and his former tutor and lifelong friend, John Rainolds, who was known for his strong Puritan sympathies.

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