The document we're going to talk about today is a set of extracts from Richard Hooker's work Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity written in 1593 (the 3 dots suggest that they were cuts in the text). Actually, this is his main work and it consists of eight books that were published during the reign of Elizabeth I (she came to the throne in 1558). In 1890, Isaac Walton published The work of Mr Richard Hooker with an account of his life and death, a book in which he gathered Hooker's written works and his biography. This very extract relates the debate opposing the Puritan wing of the Church of England and the partisans of the Church of England in the last decade of the reign of Elizabeth I. You all remember that Elizabeth was a protestant: she reformed the English Church, setting up a Via Media which is a middle way between the positions of the Roman Catholics and the Protestants.
[...] He also alludes to the Eucharist which is another Lutheran sacrament. But concerning the other rites that are blamed by the Protestants, like the Lent at l.36-37 “abstinence at certain times from some kinds of there are probably many rites that the Protestants do not accept from the Catholics, as the phrase “sundry Church offices” implies. But he tries to turn the meaning of those rites into sheer religious behaviors: “kneeling at the other” implies obedience, respect and modesty for instance, so the Puritans shouldn't blame it with such vigor. [...]
[...] Obviously, he exaggerates on purpose by quoting such examples: they are too cliché, typical of the Bible to imagine that the Puritans would really like them to be realized! 3. Arguments of authority, an irrefutable way to argue About the arguments of authority, I think there is no need to talk about that in detail now because we saw them in the first part: they are Nature, because Nature is almighty, especially at this age because it has a very strong link with God and religion, as God created Nature. [...]
[...] So we'll talk about the formal rhetorical means which bring out the logical and reasonable aspect of this text; then we'll talk about the use of irony to discredit his opponents, and finally we'll talk about the way Hooker manages to give irrefutable arguments: we'll take the one about Nature as an example to explain it Form First we can see that Hooker bothers to set out precisely the arguments of the Puritans before he starts answering to them: there are long subtitles (in italics) in each of the 4 books that clarify the statements of the Puritans. [...]
[...] England; in this document, he answers the attacks of the Puritans against it. The first part of our commentary deals with the importance given to the Scriptures, which is the bone of contention between Hooker and the Puritans. Then, we'll analyze the rhetoric of Hooker, his argumentation in the text. Finally, we'll see the evolution of the Church of England, the new rites and practices at the time of Hooker. I. The scriptures at the heart of the debate between the puritans and the church of England At the basis of the debate: 2 different readings of the Scripture First of all, we can notice that the word Scripture is mentioned many times in the text. [...]
[...] Hooker mocks the Puritans when he evokes the religious traditions at the time of Jesus and, at the same time, he defends the new sacraments (men's creations) which belong to the Church of England. Concerning the past: Hooker, at the end of this text, uses several biblical references that illustrate the past. It is important to specify that Scripture is the basis of Christianity but you have to know that it is not as important for Catholicism. Indeed, the Protestants, and particularly Luther who is followed by the Puritans consider the Scripture as the only source of truth: it's the sola scriptura, whereas the Catholics consider it as worthy as the traditions that man created, the very traditions the Puritans fight. [...]
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