Journal Article

Richard Hooker and the Principle of <i>Sola Scriptura</i>

Nigel Voak

in The Journal of Theological Studies

Volume 59, issue 1, pages 96-139
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0022-5185
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4607 | DOI:
Richard Hooker and the Principle of Sola Scriptura

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The traditional view that Richard Hooker argued for the religious authority of Scripture, reason, and tradition, in that order, has come under sustained criticism in recent years, especially from those scholars who assert that Hooker was in fact an orthodox Reformed theologian. Although Hooker placed a distinctively high value on the role of reason in authenticating Holy Scripture, it is claimed that this is fully compatible with the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura, and reflects wider developments in the Reformed tradition on the role of reason in proving that Scripture is divine revelation. This article seeks to refute these claims by examining Reformed thought on the religious authority of Scripture and reason in matters of Christian doctrine, looking at representatives from the Reformers, early orthodoxy, and high orthodoxy. This is then compared with Hooker's work, where, it is argued, the Reformed doctrine that Scripture is the principium cognoscendi theologiae, with reason merely an ancillary ‘handmaid’, is replaced by the radical position that Scripture and demonstrative reasoning are both principial authorities in matters of Christian doctrine. In propounding his triple-source theory of religious authority, therefore, Hooker is concluded to have broken fundamentally with the principle of sola Scriptura.

Journal Article.  18882 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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