Reading Hooker

A. J. Joyce

in Richard Hooker and Anglican Moral Theology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199216161
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739248 | DOI:
Reading Hooker

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This chapter argues that an appreciation of Hooker's prose style, particularly his use of rhetoric and irony, is essential to the correct interpretation of his text. This is demonstrated with particular reference to Hooker's portrayal of Calvin in the Preface to the Lawes, and the conflicting ways in which his attitude to Calvin has been interpreted by his commentators (some of whom appear unaware of this dimension to his work). It is argued that Hooker's reputation for dispassionate objectivity is in large part a consciously constructed literary persona, and that his rhetoric and wit have often been ignored or misinterpreted. At times, the polemical dimension to the Lawes has a significant impact upon Hooker's mode of argumentation and the content of his work, so its importance must never be underestimated, as it is relevant even to the study of his moral theology.

Keywords: Hooker; rhetoric; irony; prose style; polemic; literary persona; Calvin; Lawes

Chapter.  10682 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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