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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter identifies epistemic goods in Hooker’s Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Hooker de-epistemizes scripture by arguing that it neither claims to provide nor can provide a particular warrant for every act of ordinary life or an immutably binding plan of church governance. This frees us from stressful searching of scripture and encourages us to use reason. Both reason and tradition foster Hooker’s emphasis on community, evident in his sympathy with other churches and with devout adherents of non-Christian religions. He values public worship as an important epistemic good in itself and as a source of other such goods. He also focuses on virtues—godliness or piety as supreme, classical virtues such as justice, courage, and practical wisdom, and the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity—and argues convincingly for the inseparability of politics and religion.

Keywords: scripture, tradition, reason, community, virtue, politics and religion

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