Sarah Coakley on Hooker

The subtlety of Richard Hooker’s account of the relation of Scripture, tradition and reason in Book V of the Ecclesiastical Polity is one of the most distinctive and remarkable features of historic Anglican theology and, I believe, of considerable importance for our current dilemmas about women bishops. But I am not sure that sufficient account has yet been taken of this strand of our heritage…

Hooker’s perspective does indeed allow for novelties in the rational reception of Bible and tradition: the plastic nature of Hooker’s conception of reason, and its deep understanding of historical embeddedness, does allow for creative development in response to the primacy of Scriptural authority and the deposit of tradition, without the danger of a merely historical or moral relativism. There is nothing in Hooker, then, that would give credence to the slogan that “nothing new is ever true.” But there is everything to suggest the possibility of hopes for future creativity and renewal.

Sarah Coakley, “Has the Church of England finally lost its reason? Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology

Coakley’s piece reminds me that our task of reading through the Laws is extremely important, if I may be so bold to say so.

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