Church History, Vol. 49, 1980. 133-146.

Answering "the Known Men": Bishop Reginald Pecock and Mr. Richard Hooker

Charles W. Brockwell, Jr.

There are both striking similarities and significant differences between the Lollards of the fifteenth century and the radical Puritans of the sixteenth. Both rejected the authority of the established church in England, and both suffered for such boldness. With the passage of De heretico comburendo in 1401 the so-called Wycliffites were liable to inquisitorial proceedings and punishments. Lollards were now felons as well as heretics. In 1406, by means of a supplement to the 1401 legislation, the laymen in Parliament at last took heed of the warning from the churchmen that confiscation of church possessions threatened all lordship, secular as well as spiritual. Under a constitution drafted at the Oxford Assembly from November to December, 1407 and republished at St. Paul's in 1409, any preacher other than a priest in his own parish was required to obtain a license from the ordinary or the archbishop in order to preach. Arundel further decreed that such preachers were to speak only on the subjects set forth in Peckham's constitution, Ignorantia sacerdotum. As the chief legal instrument of this English Inquisition, De heretico comburendo remained in effect until set aside by Henry VIII. It was later revived by Mary, and finally repealed by Elizabeth. 1

Similarly, the Puritans were exposed to baleful consequences after the Court of High Commission was reconstituted in 1583. That was followed a decade later by the act to imprison conventicle attenders and to banish nonconformists. 2 Later in 1593, the dangling bodies of Barrow, Greenwood and Penry punctuated clearly for any lingering doubters the stated intention of Archbishop Whitgift to silence zealous nonconformists.

At the heart of both Lollard and Puritan nonconformity was their stout insistence upon the right to interpret the Bible in their own way, no matter what scholars might demonstrate or prelates might demand. The Bible was inevitably the battleground upon which the struggle for conformity would be fought, since social consensus was expressed in Christian idiom drawn from scripture, and the church as the core cultural institution in symbiosis with the state claimed the exclusive right to interpret that scripture.

The Puritans enjoyed the services of educated leaders, and were much more visible in society than the Lollards had been. They continued to preach and otherwise publish their views. Moreover, they had definite ideas about the kind of church they hoped to raise. It might be said that whereas the Lollards were impelled by radical urges, the more articulate Puritans were devotees of a radical program. Essentially for these reasons, the historical trail of Puritanism is more clearly marked than is the underground movement of later Lollardy.

Modern historians of the late medieval and Reformation English church have been interested in whether or not there was any historical continuity between Lollardy and Puritanism. Arthur G. Dickens in the 1950s and John A. F. Thomson in the 1960s gave positive responses to that query. More recently Irvin Horst has suggested that "generally Anabaptist supplanted Lollard as the name for English nonconformity from about 1530 until the end of Mary's reign." John K. Luoma has noted that by applying the designation "dear brethren" to the Puritans, Richard Hooker connected them with the nonconformist tradition that reaches back through Anabaptism to Lollardy. Although it may be sheer coincidence, both Lollards and Puritans called themselves "the known men." That term, as a synonym for those known of God or the elect, occurs throughout Foxe Acts and Monuments as a designation of the Protestant martyrs. The two subjects of this article took note of their opponents' use of the appellation. 3 In any event, popular Lollardy survived as an underground movement into the Reformation period. Only after its underlying impulses had been refined by the Calvinism of the Marian exiles did it disappear as an identifiable, albeit amorphous, entity. In fact, Lollard absorption into the more articulate tradition of Protestant nonconformity was so natural that we cannot specifically date it.


Against that background, it is instructive to compare the widely separated, but surprisingly comparable, responses to English nonconformity on the parts of two defenders of the ecclesiastical establishment. Bishop Reginald Pecock made the greatest effort of any fifteenth-century churchman to convince the heretics to return to orthodoxy. Mr. Richard Hooker, rector of Bishopsbourne, produced what came to be regarded as the classical apology for the Anglican via media before the face of unyielding dissent. Henry O. Taylor observed that to corroborate the similarity between Lollards and Puritans "one may point to the intellectual affinity and occasional coincidence of position between Pecock and Hooker, the two most intellectual opponents of these protests against the established Church." It seems that the first scholar to comment publicly on such an affinity was Henry Hallam. In 1818 he wrote, " BishopPecock's answer to the Lollards of his time contains passages well worthy of Hooker, both for weight of matter and dignity of style, setting forth the necessity and importance of 'the moral law of kinde, or moral philosophie,' in opposition to those who derive all morality from revelation." Frederick J. Shirley also has written that "When Hooker claims that 'the assurance of things which we believe by the Word, is not so sure as of those which we perceive by sense,' we seem once more to be listening to the reasoning of Bishop Pecock." Moreover, Shirley thought of Hooker as "the first Englishman (if we ignore Pecock) to ascribe such importance to Reason. . . ." 4 Nevertheless, no one has produced a comparative study of the methodology, arguments and conclusions of these two thinkers. Scholars must cease to ignore Pecock and begin to look beneath the surface of the easily recognized similarities between these two thinkers.

Hooker, of course, is a well-remembered protagonist of the Elizabethan church. His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity is the principal apology of the Settlement and has not been out of print since its original publication. Reginald Pecock, bishop first of St. Asaph (1443-1450) and then of Chichester (1450-1458/9), is a rather more obscure figure. Though Pecock probably wrote fifty books and treatises, only six of his works survive; these exist in single manuscripts only and two of them are incomplete. One of these books was partially edited and published in the 1680s, a complete edition of another title was brought out in 1860, and complete editions of all the others were published between the years 1909 and 1927. 5 The bishop, then, requires more of an introduction than the rector does.

Not even the dates of Pecock's birth and death are known exactly (c. 1395-c. 1460). From 1424 to 1457, however, he enjoyed a successful and highly visible career as priest, college master, bishop and theologian. For over a decade he was the most controversial ecclesiastic in England. The tragic irony of his life is that this man, who tried harder than anyone else to bring the Lollards back into the peace of the church, was himself forced to abjure and to assist in the burning of his books before the crowd at Paul's Cross. He was the first bishop of the English church ever to be formally convicted of heresy. 6

Bishop Pecock remains an enigmatic figure, out of harmony with his own time and devoid of influence upon subsequent generations. Among other things he has been scorned as a proud heretic, identified as a Lollard, hailed as a reformer before the Reformation, dismissed as an intellectual dilettante. The history of the interpretation of Pecock tells more about the theology and ecclesiology of his interpreters than it does about him. Such at least is the case until this century, with the notable exceptions of Daniel Waterland in the early eighteenth century and Churchill Babington in the mid-nineteenth. 7

Even today the bishop has at least one vigorous detractor in the person of Professor Peter Munz. In The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought, Munz acknowledges that there are obvious similarities between Pecock's response to Lollard biblicism and Hooker's answer to Puritan exegetical principles. He even suggests that Hooker may have seen John Stowe's copy of Pecock Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy. Moreover, he thinks it likely that Hooker knew the contents of Pecock Book of Faith from Archbishop Whitgift, who owned the manuscript. But, Munz hastens to add, if Hooker did know of these works, "we must conclude that it served him as a warning not to make the situation worse by following in Pecock's footsteps." Troubled by the parallels between the two thinkers on the subject of the use of natural reason, he asserts that "there was a method in the evolution of Hooker's thought; whereas Pecock's thought is based on confusion." Munz wants the reader to believe that "Hooker's intellect was infinitely superior to that of Pecock. He really understood the problem involved, and therefore did not let himself be tempted into an easy-going rationalism. . . ." Munz even questions Pecock's probity. Unlike Hooker, the bishop was impelled by base motivation. His vanity was incurable "and it is difficult for a modern reader of his works not to believe that he used the Lollard Bibliolatry merely as an opportunity for showing that the Bible was not at all perfect and that his own expositions were at any rate clearer." Pecock's alleged self-contradictions, plus his unconcealed vanity, produced in Munz a "strong presumption in favor of the conclusion that he simply lacked the intellectual stature that was required to deal with such a problem." The poor man had no more imagination than to attempt to refute the Lollard position by merely reversing its thesis, insisting instead upon the superiority of reason over faith. Naturally that left the door open to a pagan rationalism "and it could therefore hardly commend itself to a Christian like Hooker to follow Pecock. . . ." 8

Such mixed reactions as those of Hallam and Shirley on the one hand and Munz on the other raise the question of just what would be revealed by a diligent comparison of the methodology employed, the arguments presented and the conclusions arrived at by the Lancastrian bishop and the Elizabethan divine. There are several obvious points of entry for such a project: exegetical method; the definition and function of tradition in theology; the definition of natural reason and its role in divinity; the relationship of reason and faith (nature and grace). This article focuses on still another such point of comparison: their attacks on biblicism. This issue demonstrates a fundamental divergence between the dissenters and these two defenders of the orthodox theological consensus. It is, therefore, a significant beginning point for the comparative study that I am suggesting.

For the project immediately at hand there is no need to delve into how Lollards or Puritans saw themselves. We are here interested only in the responses of Pecock and Hooker to their own perceptions of the arguments of their opponents. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that Hooker's representation does not reflect accurately the thought of Puritans like William Perkins. Recent scholarship has successfully distinguished moderate nonseparatists from the radicals within the Puritan movement. The underground nature of later Lollardy makes it harder to discern divisions within that strand of dissent. Pecock himself is a major source of their views. 9


The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy, written in 1449, is simultaneously the fullest statement of Lollard beliefs for that time that we have from any source and the clearest statement of Pecock's view of scripture. He himself directed his readers there, as well as to the lost treatise, The Iust Apprising of Holi Scripture, to find his response to Lollard opinions concerning the Bible. 10 The Repressor is especially important for this inquiry because, as Munz noted, Hooker may have seen John Stowe's copy of it.

In part 1, Pecock addresses what seem to him to be four basic errors of "the Bible men." 11 First, "the lay partie" insisted that no belief or practice was required of a Christian unless it was expressly commanded in scripture. This rule was applied to every area of life, not just to religion. If a priest urged upon them anything which did not meet with their approval, then they asked where it might be found in the Bible. Unless he could show them a text relating directly to the point, they placed no value on his command: "though it ligge ful open and ful sureli in doom of resoun, and ther fore sureli in moral lawe of kinde, which is lawe of God, forto be doon. . . ." 12

The firste of these . . . trowingis, holdingis, or opiniouns is this: That no gournaunce is to be holde of Cristen men the seruice or the lawe of God, saue it which is groundid in Holi Scripture of the Newe Testament, as surnme of the bifore seid men holden; or namelich, saue it which is groundid in the Newe Testament or in the Oold, and is not be the Newe Testament reuokid, as summe othere of hem holden. 13

Pecock opens his response to that attitude by distinguishing between a foundation and a secondary support. The ground and "fundament" of anything is that from which it grows organically. The ground of a virtue, ordinance or truth provides all necessary knowledge about it and such knowledge is not available from any other source. Furthermore, virtues, ordinances and truths have only one ground. Other considerations may encourage men to observe or believe them, but that is not the same as providing the ground from which they grow. 14

Thus, it follows that it is not the office of scripture to ground any law of God which human reason can discover on its own. Before the law was given to the Jews they were bound by "alle tho moral vertues and moral gouernauncis and treuthis which bi doom of her natural resoun thei founden and leerneden and camen to. . . ." Thus they were brought close to "alle moral gouernauncis and moral trouthis into whiche Cristen men ben bounden now in tyme of the Newe Testament." Christ put aside the ceremonial law and the old sacraments, replacing them with "a fewe positijf lawis of . . . [a] fewe newe sacramentis." But the laws established by natural reason were not changed. The moral law "is not groundid in Holi Scripture, but in the book of lawe of kinde writen in mennis soulis with the finger of God." In fact, since Christ and the apostles accepted the moral law as a given they could not have been its authors. 15

Here we are brought to the heart of Pecock's refutation of Lollard biblicism.

. . . the faculte of the seid moral philsophie and the faculte of pure dyvynite or the Holi Scripture been ij. [two] dyuerse facultees, ech of hem hauyng his propre to him boundis and markis, and ech of hem having his propre to him treuthis and conclusiouns to be groundid in him. . . . Wherefore folewith that he vnresonabli and reprouabili askith, which askith where a treuthe of moral philosophy is groundid in pure divynyte or in Holi Scripture, and wole not ellis trowe it to be trewe; lijk as . . . if he askid of a treuthe in masonry, where it is groundid in carpentrie; and wolde not ellis trowe it be trewe, but if it were groundid in carpentrie. 16

And whanne al is doon, what euer wil a man hath forto do reuerence to Holi Scripture, yit sithen treuthe is to be had in al a mannys gouernauncis, the best gouernaunce in this mater is this: forto suffre Holi Scripture abide withinne his owne termys and boundis, and not entre into the boundis and the right of lawe of kinde: that is to seie, that he not vsurpe eny grounding which longith to the faculte of lawe of kinde or of moral philsophi, and so that he not wrongee the lawe of kinde. And agenward that the seid lawe of kinde kepe him withinne hise owne teermys and boundis, and not entre into boundis and right of Holi Scripture: that is to seie, that he not vsurpe eny grounding which longith to Holi Scripture, neither therbi wrongee Holi Scripture; but that euereither of hem neighbourly dwelle bisidis the other of hem, and not entermete as in grounding with the other of hem. And this beste gouernaunce schal be performed, if . . . it be holde that Holi Scripture schal grounde the conclusiouns and treuthis of Cristen feith, and not eny oon conclusioun or treuthe into whos fynding and grounding doom of mannys resoun may suffice, with concours of the grace which God bi his comoun vniuersal lawe is woned and is redi alwey geue; and agenward, that doom of mannys resoun or lawe of kinde schal founde and grounde the conclusiouns and treuthis of Cristen lawe into whose fynding resoun in the now seid maner may suffice, and that he not grounde eny oon conclusioun or treuth of faith; and but if this gouernaunce be kept, pees, right and trouthe is not bitwixe hem kept. 17

To be sure, Pecock acknowledged that scripture and natural law could reinforce each other. Scripture witnesses to the truths of the "lawe of kind groundid in moral philosophy" in order to stir and exhort men to believe and follow them. Similarly, treatises on moral philosophy might rehearse and witness to the truths and conclusions of faith. 18 Nevertheless, the bishop insists upon a clear distinction. The province of the doom of reason is the universal moral law of mankind. The province of scripture is threefold: the positive law regarding religious observance, the history of the Old and New Testament figures and the uniquely Christian theological affirmations concerning God, Christ and immortality. 19

The second error of the lay party was a twofold assertion: first, that every humble Christian could arrive at the truth of scripture; and second, its corollary that the celerity of correct interpretation was in direct proportion to one's meekness of spirit. "The secunde trowing or opinyoun is this: That what euer Cristen man or womman be meke in spirit and willi forto vndirstrode treuli and dewli Holi Scripture, schal without fail and defaut fynde the trewe vndirstonding of Holi Scripture in what euer place he or sche schal rede and studie . . . and the more meke he or sche be, the sooner he or sche schal come into the verry trewe and dew vndirstonding of it, which in Holi Scripture he or sche redith and studieth." 20

In response Pecock drew arguments from both experience and reason. The experience of the Lollards themselves showed how varying interpretations of scripture arise even among those who claim to have the "meke" exposition. Besides, everyone knows that "a viciose man is as kunnyng a clerk for to finde, leeren, and vndirstonde which is trewe and dew sentence of Holi Scripture, how soone a vertuose clerk is kunnyng thereto. . . ." 21 He pointed out that the power of exposition is governed by the intellectual rather than the moral traits of a man. The Lollards cannot argue that the grace of God is given to the meek man, thus providing him with an intellectual advantage, because the gifts of prophecy, revelations and miracles have frequently been exercised by bad men. It is reason, employing the syllogistic method, which tests interpretations of scripture for their truth.

The third error of the "known men" was that whenever the humble interpreter had arrived at the true sense of scripture he must not let himself be swayed by further evidence or argument, especially arguments based on reason. "The iije. [third] trowing or opinioun is this: Whanne euere a person hath founde the vndirstonding of Holi Scripture into which he schal come bi the wey [of private interpretation in a spirit of humility], . . . he or sche oughte bowe awey her heering, her reeding, and her vndirstonding fro al resonyng and fro al arguyng or prouyng which eny clerk can or wole or mai make by eny maner euydence of resoun or of Scripture, and namelich of resoun into the contrarie. . . ." 22

Pecock went to the New Testament for his answer. In I Peter 3 is found the admonition to be prepared to make a defense of the faith, and in both the third and sixth chapters of John's gospel Jesus says that the good man seeks the light. To the bishop such passages meant that the only way to discover truth, whether in natural or revealed religion, was through reasoned discussion. Every true opinion could be supported on its own grounds and evidence, "right as good trewe gold, the more it suffrith the fier, the more cleerli he is seen to be trewe gold. . . ." 23

The last of the Lollard errors is closely related to the preceding two. Just as they believed that the moral man would make the true interpretation of scripture without benefit of any formal training, so if one were immoral he could never understand the Bible, no matter how long he studied or how much he was assisted by scholars.

The [fourth] opinioun in him silf is this. If eny man be not oonli meke, but if ther with al he kepe and fulfille al the lawe of God so miche and in the maner as it is longing to him forto it kepe and fulfille, he schal haue the trewe vndirstonding of Holi Scripture, though no man ellis teche him saue God. And tho men whiche ben not trewe lyuers in the lawe of God schulen not falle vpon the trewe and dewe vndirstonding of Holi Scripture, though thei putte thereto al her natural power and diligence, with the help and counseil of othere suche persoones like to hem. 24

Pecock's brief reply was drawn from experience. Among the Lollards themselves were known lechers, adulterers, and thieves, as well as other vicious persons. The bishop urged upon his readers the value of clergy who were learned in moral philosophy. 25


The Puritans, like the Lollards, rejected the claim of the established church to be the sole interpreter of the Bible. They called upon the people not to follow blind guides. In his work On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Richard Hooker replied by asking how the common people were competent to judge the guide. Once more like the Lollards, the Puritans were confident that they had fit teachers among themselves. When they were challenged they refused to listen, citing instead I John 4:6, "We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us," and I Corinthians 1:27, "God hath chosen the simple." Then, by asserting that the special illumination of the Holy Spirit had enabled them to find the true meaning of scripture, Puritans sought to persuade everyone to acknowledge that their definitions of biblical terms were the only acceptable ones. So, as it had been 150 years earlier, the battleground on which the church and the dissenters struggled was Holy Scripture. 26

Hooker identified as the first and most fundamental error of the Puritans their belief that scripture is the only law which God has given to men. " 'That Scripture ought to be the only rule of all our actions' . . . standeth with you for the first and chiefest principle whereon ye build." But in fact, God has given us sense, reason which goes beyond sense and prophetical revelation which goes beyond reason. The Apostle taught that even men who have no written law of God carry within their hearts the universal human law, the law of reason. And that law provides some direction in how to honor God as creator. 27

For Hooker the "principal intent" of scripture was "to deliver the laws of duties supernatural." Scripture teaches those truths which natural discourse either could not discover or would have difficulty in discovering. Reason cannot teach men how to glorify God as Savior. For that we must have divine law which both corroborates and supplements the law of reason. Thus, in moral actions divine law helps the law of reason; for supernatural truth the divine law is the only guide. 28

Hooker reminds us of Pecock in his belief that his opponents were wrong to insist that every deed a Christian does must be commanded by scripture. Such an attitude expands scripture beyond its necessary use. To be sure, the wisdom of God teaches every good way, but it has more than one way of teaching. In addition to the scripture we are given nature, spiritual influence, and worldly experience and practice. The Puritans might hold that Paul's reference to faith meant scripture alone when he said that whatever is not done of faith is sin (Romans 14:23), but Hooker would insist that it is necessary for sense and reason also to serve as guides. So Hooker shared Pecock's concern that scripture be used for the ends to which God ordained it: to teach what is above reason, to teach all things necessary to salvation, and to teach all supernatural revealed truth. 29

Hooker perceived three positive applications of reason to matters of religion. First, it provided the common ground for communication among all persons of sound mind and goodwill. Next, it provided the arguments which could establish the sacred authority of scripture. Finally, in conjunction with experience and tradition it produced the most probable interpretation of scripture.

On the first count Hooker believed that the virtues of morality and honesty belong to men as men, not to men as Christians. That law which is written in all men's hearts includes rules and canons which the church is bound to observe whether or not they are mentioned in scripture. Paul said in Romans 1 that natural men know both God and the law of God. No sound theologian had ever denied that the will of God is in part made manifest by the light of nature. It is by that light that all men know of our God, and many know of the immortality of the soul. 30

In the second place Hooker subscribed to the Augustinian idea that some authority outside scripture has to convince us that scripture is "a sacred and holie rule of well-doing." "For whatsoever we believe concerning salvation by Christ, although the scripture be therein the ground of our beliefe; yet the authoritie of man is . . . the key which openeth the dore of entrance into the knowledge of scripture. The scripture could not teach us the things that are of God, unlesse we did credite men who have taught us that the wordes of scripture doe signify those things. Some way therefore, notwithstanding mans infirmitie, yet his authority may enforce assent." In Hooker's view, then, scripture is not self-validating and it is through reason that we come to believe that scripture is the word of God. The undeniable experience of all men is that the first outward motive leading persons to accept scripture is the authority of the church. The church's acceptance of the scripture can be defended in turn by arguments which "unbeleevers them selves must needs thinke reasonable, if they judged thereof as they should." 31

Since the utility of reason had been thus established, obviously it should be exercised in exegesis. This point requires little elaboration. Hooker made it clear that "we do not add reason as a supplement of any maime or defect [in the Bible], but as a necessary instrument, without which we could not reape by the scriptures perfection that fruite and benefit which it yeeldeth." It is reason which must decide between true and false interpretations of scripture. 32

Like Pecock before him Hooker was repulsed by his opponents' rejection of reason in religion. That view would do away with the law of nature among men. Its silliness is so apparent that to adhere to it would result in the scripture losing its credibility altogether. A belief or practice is correctly said to be of God if it is either supernaturally revealed or found out "by helpe of that light which God hath given . . . unto that ende." Unless we acknowledge the usefulness of that second way we are forced to conclude that the very law of nature is not of God. Neither would the writers of Christian antiquity agree with the Puritan claim that they had limited all knowledge to scripture. What the Fathers meant was that all supernatural and revealed truth is found in the Bible alone. To reject reason in religion is to scorn the very example of Christ and the apostles. In fact, the Puritans were not consistent in their attitude toward reason: they employed reason to disparage reason, just as they cited learned men who shared their disapprobation of the authority of men. 33


Clearly parallel arguments against biblicism emerge from this comparison. Though they organized their answers somewhat differently, both Pecock and Hooker objected to three opinions: first, that the Bible is the sole source of theology and ethics; second, that the pious man is the only man who can rightly interpret the scripture; and third, that the reasoned persuasion of the theologian is actually an impediment to the true ("meke" or "spiritual") interpretation of the Bible.

Perhaps what has done the most to obscure the theological commonality of these two men is Pecock's open admission of heresy. He publicly acknowledged that he was guilty of preferring his own reason above scripture or the teaching of the church. His reputation has never recovered from that self-repudiation, even though it was done under extreme duress. On the basis of his extant writings, however, he cannot be fairly convicted of classical, heretical rationalism: doctrinaire insistence upon the superiority of reason in the establishment of religious truth or exaggerated independence of reason from supernatural revelation.

In abjuring, Pecock was clearly terrified by the same flames from which he had labored for so long to save the Lollards. It must not be forgotten, however, that he was also being true to his own strongly held conviction regarding the teaching authority, the magisterium, of the church. One of his pleas to the Lollards was that the individual had no right to assert private conscience against the stated consensus of the church. If after earnest debate the individual could not get his view accepted by the church, then he must be silent. 34

When viewed in context the "drift" (as Hooker would say) of Pecock's thought is not heretically rationalistic. Rather, by controlled usage of what might be termed "Pecock's razor," the bishop sought to pare away everything but the essential core of Christian teaching. He wanted to make beliefs that were uniquely Christian stand out boldly. As one writer has succinctly put it: "Faith, clearly known and its limits strictly defined by the critical examination of its origin, gains in intensity what it loses in extent, for then only do the essential truths stand out in the splendour of revelation. Pecock, therefore, limited faith to those truths which could be shown to have no other source than revelation: custom, he held, could not acquire a supernatural sanction." 35 Here too we see an attitude like that of Hooker.

A detailed investigation of the role of reason in the thought of Pecock and Hooker is not possible here. What has been done is an attempt to bring into focus the parallel alignment of the arguments used by these two thinkers to counter Lollard or Puritan biblicism.

At this juncture we cannot do more than speculate on whether or not Hooker read any of Pecock's surviving works. To be sure, the fallen bishop had been rehabilitated and was included in Foxe's pantheon of martyrs for the gospel. This "reformation" of Reginald Pecock was wholly misconceived. He had, in fact, been turned inside out and identified as a pre-reformer, which is to say a Lollard! 36 He had been absolved without being reinvestigated. Thus, if Hooker even knew of Pecock's existence, he might have discounted him as merely one more "known man." Given the tendency of the Elizabethan theologians to overlook the preceding millenium in the search for patristic justification of their contemporary course, it seems unlikely that Hooker would have expected (or wanted) to find an affinitive Catholic thinker in the mid-fifteenth century.

It would indeed be significant if we could confirm Professor Munz's speculation that Hooker may have seen The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy and may have known the contents of The Book of Faith. External evidence for those possibilities is apparently nonexistent, and thus far this writer has not discovered any passages in The Laws of Ecclesiastical Piety which parallel The Repressor closely enough to justify the conclusion that Hooker was quoting or paraphrasing the bishop.

We can, however, better appreciate what Taylor termed the "intellectual affinity" of these two theologians, and affirm that there is more than an "occasional coincidence" in their views. Pecock and Hooker shared the concern for order, measure and restraint that was a hallmark of the Anglican via media in theology. 37 They were loyal to the institutional church and its historic forms. They put forth honest effort to understand their opponents. They argued from scripture, reason, tradition and experience. 38 They preferred persuasion to prosecution; yet, if it came to it, they approved of government enforcement of Christian orthodoxy.

It is of more than passing interest that Pecock, so thoroughly medieval in his training, so innocent of Renaissance influence, should be so like Hooker, who was heir to both the Renaissance and the Reformation, and who shared the Elizabethan divine's aversion to the Middle Ages. It would appear that the comparative study begun here points toward two conclusions. First, the pre-Reformation ecclesia Anglicana possessed within its indigenous tradition the basic elements of that normative Anglicanism which Richard Hooker did so much to bring into focus. Second, Bishop Reginald Pecock has been too little appreciated as a theologian of the via media 150 years before the great exponent of the Settlement.

Mr. Brockwell is associate professor of history in University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

1 The text of De heretico comburendo may be seen in Henry Gee and William John Hardy, Documents Illustrative of English Church History Compiled from Original Sources (London, 1910 ), pp. 133-137. The action of 1406 is recorded in Rotuli Parlimentorum ut et Petitiones et Placita in Parliamento, 6 vols. (n.p., n.d.), 3: 583-584. For the Oxford constitution see John V. Bullard and Harold C. Bell, eds., Lyndwood's Provinciale (London, 1929 ), V.v.1-3. The constitution was apparently not meant to apply to the friars; see Margaret Aston, "Lollardy and Sedition, 1381-1431", Past and Present 27 ( 1960 ):14. For Ignorantia sacerdotum see Bullard and Bell, Provinciale, I.i.1, or Ray C. Petry, ed., A History of Christianity (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1962 ), pp. 337-338.

2 For the act against Puritans see Gee and Hardy, Documents, pp. 492-498.

3 Arthur G. Dickens, Lollards and Protestants in the Diocese of York, 1509-1558 (London, 1959 ; rpt. with corrections, 1966 ); John A. F. Thomson, The Later Lollards, 1414-1520 (London, 1965 ; rpt. with corrections, 1967 ); Irvin Horst, The Radical Brethren, Bibliotheca Humanistica et Reformatorica, vol. 2 (Nieuwkoop, 1972 ), pp. 56-57; John K. Luoma , "Restitution or Reformation? Cartwright and Hooker on The Elizabethan Church", Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 46 ( 1977 ): 101. John Foxe , The Acts and Monuments, ed. Stephen R. Cattley, 8 vols. (London, 1837 ). Reginald Pecock , The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy, ed. Churchill Babington, 2 vols. (London, 1860 ), 1.11, p. 53. This is the only printed edition of Repressor and pagination is continuous throughout its two volumes. Citations to Repressor will give part and chapter followed by page numbers. Richard Hooker, The Folger Library Edition of the Works of Richard Hooker, ed. W. Speed Hill (Cambridge, Mass., 1977 , Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 2 vols., ed. Georges Edelen ( 1977 ), Pref. 3.14. Citations to this work will give book, chapter and section.

4 Henry O. Taylor, Thought and Expression in the Sixteenth Century, 2 vols., 2nd rev. ed. (New York, 1920 ), 2:180 (italics in the original). Henry Hallam, View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages, 2 vols. (London, 1818 ), 2:537. Frederick J. Shirley, Richard Hooker and Contemporary Political Ideas (London, 1949 ), pp. 39, 212; see also pp. 68, 176.

5 In their probable chronological order Pecock's surviving works are: The Reule of Crysten Religioun, ed. William C. Greet (London, 1927 ); The Donet, ed. Elsie V. Hitchcock (London, 1921 ); Poore Mennis Myrrour, an extract of part 1 of The Donet, collated and published in the same volume as The Donet; "Abbrevatio Reginaldi Pecok", printed in the second volume of The Repressor; The Folewer to the Donet, ed. Elsie V. Hitchcock (London, 1924 ); The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy (see note 3); and The Book of Faith, ed. John L. Morison (Glasgow, 1909 ). John Foxe printed a summary rather than a transcript of a few pages from The Book of Faith in "Collectanea Quaedam ex Reginaldi Pecoki", Commentarii Rerum in Ecclesia Gestarum (Strasbourg, 1553 ), pp. 200-205. Thomas Kelly thought it possible that fols. 27b-28b of British Library MS. Roy. 17 A.xxvi were part of the bishop's lost Book of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Under wartime conditions Kelly did not have access to the manuscript, otherwise he would have seen that the fragment he refers to is an integral part of a larger work, a handbook for parish priests. There is nothing extraordinary about the work, nor does it have any characteristic Pecock ideas and expressions. Both his editors and other writers generally date the bishop's surviving works between 1443 and 1456. Kelly, however, believed that the earliest of them, The Reule of Crysten Religioun, was in circulation by 1433. See Thomas Kelly, "Reginald Pecock: A Contribution to his Biography", (M.A. thesis, University of Manchester, 1945 ), pp. 42-43, 129-130.
6 Reginald Pecock was born in Wales sometime during the first half of the 1390s. He was a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford for about ten years, from the mid-1410s to the mid-1420s. His ecclesiastical appointments were: rector of St. Michael's, Gloucester (1424-1431); rector of St. Michael Riola and master of Whittington College, London (1431-1444); bishop of St. Asaph (1444-1450); bishop of Chichester (1450-1458/9). He lived the last year or so of his life under house arrest at Thorney Abbey, Cambridgeshire and died in 1460 or 1461. He was allowed to incept for the Doctor's degree in theology from Oxford without performing regency sometime before 1444. The most recent monograph on the bishop is Joseph F. Patrouch, Jr., Reginald Pecock (New York, 1970 ). The standard biography is Vivian H. H. Green, Bishop Reginald Pecock: A Study in Ecclesiastical History and Thought (Cambridge, 1945 ).

7 The Works of the Rev. Daniel Waterland, D.D. . . . To Which is prefixed a review of the author's life and writings by William Van Mildert, D.D. . . ., 3rd ed., 6 vols. (Oxford, 1856 ), 6:253, 259, 427; see Babington edition of The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy cited in note 3.
8 Peter Munz, The Place of Hooker in the History of Thought (London, 1952 ), pp. 41-42, 45.

10 Pecock, Repressor, 1.10, p. 52; 1.20, p. 128.
11 Pecock gives only three Lollard errors respecting the use of the Bible in Repressor 1.1., pp. 5-7. The fourth is set out in Repressor 1.18, p. 102, because the bishop says that it came to his attention after he had written the sections dealing with the other three.
12 Pecock, Repressor, 1.1, p. 6. The "doom of reason" refers to rational judgment, especially when the syllogistic method is employed. The "lawe of kind" is the natural law. See the discussion in Green, Pecock, pp. 129-142.
9 On moderate Puritanism see John S. Coolidge, The Pauline Renaissance in England (Oxford, 1970 ), pp. 1-22, 141-151; Patrick Collinson, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (Berkeley, 1967 ), pp. 188-190, 222-239, 401; and Ian Breward, ed., The Work of William Perkins (Appleford, England, 1970 ), pp. 20-22.

13 Pecock, Repressor, 1.1, p. 5.
14 Ibid., 1.2, p. 10; 1.4, p. 21.
15 Ibid., 1.3, p. 18, 1.4, p. 20; 1.5, p. 23.
16 Ibid., 1.10, pp. 49-50.

17 Ibid., 1.13, pp. 70-71.
18 Ibid., 1.7, p. 35; 1.8, pp. 37-38.
19 Ibid., 1.3, pp. 13-14; 1.5, pp. 25-26; 1.7, p. 35; 1.8, p. 39; 1.15, pp. 90, 83-84.
20 Ibid., 1.1., p. 6.
21 Ibid., 1.17, p. 93.
22 Ibid., 1.1, p. 7.
23 Ibid., 1.17, p. 99.
24 Ibid., 1.18, p. 102.

25 Ibid., 1.18, p. 103; 1.9, pp. 46-47.
26 Hooker, Laws, pref. 3.2-4, 14, 9-10.
27 Ibid., 1. 16.5.; pref. 7.3; 1.15.4; 1.16.5.
28 Ibid., 1.14.1; 1.12.1-2; 1.16.5.

29 Ibid., 2.1.2-4; 2.4.1; 3.8.3-5, 12-13.
30 Ibid., 3.1.7; 3.7.2; 3.8.3, 6, 8.
31 Ibid., 2.4.2; 2.7.3; 3.8.12-14.

32 Ibid., 3.8.10, 16.
33 Ibid., 2.8.6; 3.2.1; 2.5.3; 3.8.17; 2.7.8; 3.8.4.

34 This has been frequently misunderstood. The bishop's view, however, is plainly stated in The Reule of Crysten Religioun (prolog, p. 29; 1. 12, p. 96), The Donet (prolog, pp. 3-4, 7) and The Book of Faith (1.7, p. 181; 1.8, pp. 208-211: 1.10, pp. 223, 231). A good account of the final unraveling of Pecock's career is Green, Pecock, pp. 49-61.
35 Naomi D. Hurnard, "Studies in Intellectual Life in England from the Middle of the Fifteenth Century till the Time of Colet" (D. Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1935 ), p. 208. To be sure, Pecock seems to come dangerously close to unorthodox rationalism with his assertion that "doom of resoun in sum maner is worthier and perfiter than is Holi Writt through out al the Bible" ( Repressor 1.15, p. 84). Many commentators have read that sentence without fully appreciating what the "sum maner" was that the bishop had in mind. Moreover, he expressly rejected arguments of philosophy which go against the articles of faith ( The Book of Faith, 1.2, pp. 133-137). He would have agreed with Hooker that it is "utterly impossible, that the eye of man by itself should look into the bosom of divine Reason . . ." ( Laws, 1.11.5); and also that "for our conversion or confirmation the force of natural reason is great. The force whereof unto those effects is nothing without grace" ( Laws, 3.8.11).
36 Foxe, Acts and Monuments, 3:724-734.

37 John E. Booty, "Hooker and Anglicanism", in Studies in Richard Hooker: Essays Preliminary to an Edition of His Works, ed. W. Speed Hill (Cleveland, 1972 ), p. 215.
38 These same sources for Christian truth -- scripture, tradition, experience and reasonprovided the parameters of theology for the eighteenth-century folk-theologian and evangelist, John Wesley. One can reflect on whether Wesley, had he lived in the Middle Ages, would have won Francis' acceptance or suffered Wycliffe's rejection. Wesley's type of irregular loyalty to the established church placed a strain on his relationship with ecclesiastical authorities, but Methodism was far from the noncomformist tradition of Lollardy or Puritanism. This commonality of sources among persons so unlike as Pecock, Hooker and Wesley has implications for delineating the history of a theology that was indigenous to the church in England. Wesley was above all an Anglican; his theological gestalt was derived from the Homilies, the Articles and the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England.

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