Presented in modern english for the first time, this is an accessible language edition of Richard Hooker's Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, the major prose work of the English 16th century.
Hooker's monumental work was the first substantial contribution to theology, philosophy, and political thought written in English.
It is important for the language and thought of all three fields and is a founding text of Anglophone cultural identity, in particularthe self-understanding of the Church of England and its descendants in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Its great human interest lies in its author's personal engagement with the most divisive religious and political issues of his day.
But the depth of Hooker's treatment of these issues and the extraordinaryrange of sources he brings to bear on them makes the Laws a book not only for its own age but for any time when human reason and the human spirit seek coherence.
Its style is magnificent, a prototype for later works of English prose writing by the likes of Gibbon, Burke, and Ruskin. This edition includes a detailed introduction explaining the turbulent times in which Hooker came to write the laws and who he wrote them for.
Arthur Stephen McGrade provides a tour of each of the eight books of the laws, examines their reception, and considers their legacy today.To assist the reader in navigating the text, a chronology of Hooker's life and times is also provides, along with a glossary, and a guide to the sources and persons Hooker mentions.
Extensive indexes areprovided.