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Luke Joseph Hooke

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Born at Dublin in 1716; died at St. Cloud, Paris, 16 April, 1796, son of Nathaniel Hooke the historian. Owing to the penal laws which forbade the education of Catholics in Ireland, he was sent when young to Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, Paris, where he remained till he received the licentiate. He then entered the Sorbonne and graduated in 1736. In 1742 he was appointed to a chair of theology, and soon earned a high reputation for learning. On 18 November, 1751, he presided at the defence of the famous thesis of de Prades, which contained some dangerous errors and aroused violent protestations. Hooke, seeing the full force of the erroneous opinions, confessed that he had not read the thesis, withdrew his signature, and demanded the condemnation of the propositions. De Prades was suspended by the faculty which publicly censured the syndic, the grand-maître, and Hooke, the three signatories. Cardinal de Tencin , visitor of the Sorbonne, in virtue of a lettre de cachet and of his own authority, deprived Hooke of his chair, 3 May, 1752, and forced hun to leave the Sorbonne. In 1754 de Prades was pardoned by Benedict XIV, whereupon Hooke appealed to the cardinal and the papal secretary, but obtained only the recall of the lettre de cachet . Louis XV, however, granted him a pension. In 1762 he again presented himself for a chair and was appointed, in preference to a candidate of the archbishop De Beaumont, who refused his sanction and withdrew his students from Hooke's lectures. In consequence Hooke addressed to him his famous letter (1763), pleading for more lenient treatment in view of the pardon granted to de Prades, and making a profession of faith on the points impugned in the thesis. The Sorbonne upheld him and appointed him one of the censors who condemned Rousseau's "Emile". But as the archbishop was firm, Hooke resigned his theological professorship and accepted the chair of Hebrew. Some years later he was made curator of the Mazarin library. He held this position till 1791, when the Directory dismissed him for refusing to take the oath of the civil constitution of the clergy. He then withdrew to Saint-Cloud where he died. His principal work is "Religionis naturalis et revelatæ principia" (Paris, 1752), which was edited for the third time and annotated by his friend Dom Brewer, O.S.B. (Paris, 1774), a treatise which is justly regarded as the foundation of the modern science of Christian apologetics. His other writings are "Lettre à Mgr. l'Archevêque de Paris" (Paris, 1763); "Discours et réflexions critiques sur l'histoire et le gouvernement de l'ancienne Rome" (Paris, 1770-84), a translation of his father's history of Rome ; "Mémoires du Ambrose Maréchal de Berwick" (Paris, 1778), which he edited with notes; "Principes sur la nature et l'essence du pouvoir de l'église" (Paris, 1791). His "Religionis principia" is contained in Migne's "Cursus Theologiæ".

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