The plays of Shakespeare, the Authorized version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, all produced in the late 16th/early 17th centuries, are the three dounding texts of the English nation and its language. Not only do they share a beauty and a power of style which have never been equalled: their influence on Anglophone culture remains profound. Originally produced by Archbishop Cranmer and his allies to bolster the Tudor secession from Catholicism, the Pray Book rapidly took on a life of its own. Until the present century, most Anglicans knew long stretches of the text by heart. It invaded the style of 17th-century p oets and even 19th century novelists like George Elliot. It still colours our language and our way of feeling today, though we hardly know it. In recent years the Prayer Book has been under attack by modernizers and radicals within the church itself. On the 450th anniversary of its first appearance, the time has come to proclaim the value of this work once more and to recognize it for what it is: a liturgical and literary masterpiece.
"A beautifully lucid introduction to the origins and use of one of the most significant religious texts in the English-speaking world. Alan Jacobs helps us to understand not only the book but also the Christian sensibility of the whole Anglican tradition and the culture it nourished."--Dr. Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge "The "Book of Common Prayer," often thought of as a source of Anglican stability, has led an interesting life of many changes. Jacobs tracks them all like a shrewd detective."--Garry Wills, author of "What the Gospels Meant" "From pious aspiration to ruthless politics, and from bonfires of hated communion rails to the Star Wars prayer, the history of the "Book of Common Prayer," in Alan Jacobs' hands, is both an education and a bright panorama. I can hardly remember another read so swift yet at the same time so helpful."--Sarah Ruden, author of "Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time" "Few texts have had as much influence on the language, culture, and religious life of English-speaking nations as the "Book of Common Prayer." Alan Jacobs masterfully distills its history with a poetic touch that is at once scholarly, reverential, and highly engaging. There is no better introduction or guide to the "Book of Common Prayer" than this one."--Carlos Eire, author of "A Very Brief History of Eternity" "Alan Jacobs traces the life of the "Book of Common Prayer" as it has grown and changed over its four-hundred-year history, responding to social and historical conditions and to its own inner convictions and complexities. Many books have been written about the "Book of Common Prayer," but this one is uniquely compact, illuminating, and moving."--Edward Mendelson, Columbia University "This book is a pleasure to read. Alan Jacobs's writing is informed, lucid, accessible, and witty. I know of no other work that is comparable."--R.W.L. Moberly, Durham University
The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer is the first comprehensive guide to the history and usage of the original Book of Common Prayer and its variations. Expert contributors from around the world and from every major denomination offer an unparalleled view of The Book of Common Prayer and its influence. The Oxford Guide to Common Prayer is more than simply a history: it describes how Anglican churches at all points of the compass have developed their own Prayer Books and adapted the time-honored Anglican liturgies to their diverse local cultures. The Guide examines how the same texts - Daily Prayers, the Eucharist, Marriage and Funerals, and many others - in dozens of editions now in use throughout the world, both resemble and differ from one another. A brief look at "electronic Prayer Books" also offers a unique and exciting modern perspective. The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer offers a fascinating journey through the history and development of a classic of world literature from its origins in the 16th century to the modern day. Oxford is pleased to offer The Book of Common Prayer in a variety of formats and prices to match readers' needs and budgets - perfect for study or gift-giving. Visit our website to order your copy today. * A comprehensive survey of the rich history of the original Book of Common Prayer and all of its varied descendents. * Explains, characterizes, and illustrates the dozens of Prayer Book versions in current use throughout the world. * Lays out a path that will enable any reader, Anglican or not, to learn why the BCP is a classic of liturgy and literature.
The words of the Book of Common Prayer have permeated deep into the life and literature of the English-speaking world. For nearly five hundred years, and for countless people, it has provided a background fanfare for a marriage or a funeral march at a burial. Yet this familiarity hides a violent and controversial history. When it was first produced, the Book of Common Prayer provoked riots among Catholics, and 4,000 died in a rebellion in Devon and Cornwall to oppose it. In the civil wars of the seventeenth century, it was banned by radical puritans, who believed it encouraged superstition and idolatry, and it caused riots all over Scotland. Conversely, with the spread of the British Empire, it was translated into a host of global languages and adopted as the basis for forms of worship in the United States and elsewhere. This edition presents the work in three different states: the first edition of 1549, which brought the Reformation into people's homes; the Elizabethan prayer book of 1559, familiar to Shakespeare and Milton; and the edition of 1662, which embodies the religious temper of the nation down to modern times. All texts are freshly edited from original copies, preserving much of their original appearance, orthography, and punctuation. The Introduction explains the historical significance of the book and the controversial process by which it was put together and revised, the changes to the text from the Reformation to the Restoration of Charles II and the 1662 version, and the significance of the book for everyday life and for the history of the English language and its literature. The book includes a glossary, extensive notes, and two appendices.
'In the midst of life we are in death' The words of the Book of Common Prayer have permeated deep into the English language all over the world. For nearly 500 years, and for countless people, it has provided a background fanfare for a marriage or a funeral march at a burial. Yet this familiarity also hides a violent and controversial history. When it was first produced the Book of Common Prayer provoked riots and rebellion, and it was banned before being translated into a host of global languages and adopted as the basis for worship in the USA and elsewhere to the present day. This edition presents the work in three different states: the first edition of 1549, which brought the Reformation into people's homes; the Elizabethan prayer book of 1559, familiar to Shakespeare and Milton; and the edition of 1662, which embodies the religious temper of the nation down to modern times. Far from being a book for the religious only, the Book of Common Prayer is one of the seminal texts of human experience and a manual of everyday ritual: a book to live, love, and die to.
Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. With an ear to the particulars of how various liturgical traditions pray, and using an advisory team of liturgy experts, the authors have created a tapestry of prayer that celebrates the best of each tradition. The book also includes a unique songbook composed of music and classic lyrics to over fifty songs from various traditions, including African spirituals, traditional hymns, Mennonite gathering songs, and Taize chants. Tools for prayer are scattered throughout to aid those who are unfamiliar with liturgy and to deepen the prayer life of those who are familiar with liturgical prayer. Ultimately, Common Prayer makes liturgy dance, taking the best of the old and bringing new life to it with a fresh fingerprint for the contemporary renewal of the church. Churches and individuals who desire a deeper prayer life and those familiar with Shane Claiborne and New Monasticism will enjoy the tools offered in this book as a fresh take on liturgy.