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Hooker on Apostolic Succession: The Two Voices

Stanley Archer
The Sixteenth Century Journal
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring, 1993), pp. 67-74
DOI: 10.2307/2541798
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2541798
Page Count: 8
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Hooker on Apostolic Succession: The Two Voices
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Abstract

In Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book VII, Richard Hooker examines the office of bishop, tracing it back to apostolic times. While he argues that the rank originated with the Apostles, enjoyed divine approval, and flourished throughout Christendom, he rejects the view inherent in the Catholic position that the office is divinely commanded or is a result of divine law. His strongest rhetoric supports the historicity of the office, its long continuance, and its universal acceptance while his rational and analytical voice supports the rank on pragmatic grounds. Degrees within the ministry, Hooker believes, establish the hierarchical structure useful for maintaining order within the Church. Hooker's discussion in Book VII forms a coherent whole with his treatment of ministerial orders in the earlier books of Ecclesiastical Polity.

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