Limited Stock – only 1 copy remaining Luke Joseph Hooke (1714-96) was an 18th-century Irish theologian who tried to express the Catholic faith in a way that was both adequate to the tradition of the faith and appropriate to the intellectual circumstances of the French Enlightenment. This was an ambitious project never more than partially realized. However, more important than the success or failure of his intellectual effort is the insight his life and work provide into an exciting but troubled era which continues to mark our own. In attempting to bridge the gap between what the 18th century believed to be faith and argued to be reason Hooke ensured for himself a life crowded with event and controversy.
This study of his intellectual achievement takes us to the heart of the French ancien régime in its final decades. We discover a regime in crisis. Bourbon political stability is prey to international war, rapid economic change and institutional conservatism. French Catholicism is unable to cope creatively with a whole range of new forces: the demand for religious toleration, the decline of theology, the harshness of deist criticism, the discovery of other world religions, the encroachment of secular power. Hooke negotiated this complex intellectual territory with skill and fairness. He has left us a theological and political testament which has lost little of its pertinence.