This chapter discusses the works of Reverend Richard Hooker. Though he was learned neither in civil nor canon law, nor an “apprentice del ley” at the Inns of Court, Hooker executed a compelling defense that went far beyond any existing apologia for any ecclesiastical body, sect, or cult of the day. Moreover, he did it as a legal treatise. In the process, Hooker's thorough and thoughtful apology both reflected the influence of the common law tradition and in turn influenced that tradition. The preeminence of Hooker's concern with law is clear from the title of his monumental treatise, the first four (of eight) volumes of which were published in 1594: Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. In The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Hooker set out to describe, justify, and warrant the authority, structure, and operation—the polity—of the ecclesia anglicana, the Church of England, the Church by law established, as it was under its Supreme Governor, “Elizabeth, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.” in the final decade of her long reign.
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