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Richard Hooker on the Eucharist:
A Commentary on the Laws V.67

Ronald Vince

The argument of Richard Hooker’s discussion of the Eucharist in the Laws V.67 has too often been obscured by a misunderstanding of the celebrated irenic tone of the presentation. Rather than simply a conciliatory ploy, Hooker’s irenicism is a rhetorical device designed to underscore the soundness of his own doctrine and the irrelevance of alternative doctrines. Hooker’s eucharistic doctrine is a form of instrumental receptionism whereby Christ is present dynamically in the liturgical action rather than statically in the consecrated elements. Human understanding of the Eucharist is necessarily experiential not reasonable and, while the cause of the communicant’s experience can be inferred, it cannot be demonstrated in terms of formal logic. Hooker’s argument is based on the reasonable interpretation of a variety of accumulated evidence characteristic of rhetorical not dialectic logic.

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