Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer: A Worldwide Survey


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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It is well conceived physically, graced with both illustrations of historic prayer books and text boxes from the liturgies being discussed, which are a significant help to the reader. This authoritative guide to the Book of Common Prayer as it once was and has now become will well serve anyone interested in Anglicanism or the prayer book tradition." --Christian Century

"To understand the phenomenon of Anglicanism we need to understand the Prayer Book -- in its original setting and in its many transformations. I cannot think of a better and more comprehensive resource than this collection of expert discussions in helping us learn more of what Anglicanism has given to the literary heritage of Christianity and culture alike." --from the Foreword by the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Monumental and magnificent! This Guide makes clear why the Book of Common Prayer is both a religious and a literary masterpiece. To say any less than that of this volume would be to misrepresent it; to say more would be to diminish its stature." --Phyllis Tickle

"Through the beauty of language, the Book of Common Prayer has nurtured a spirituality that has defined our very unity of faith and worship. The Oxford Guide is both timely and welcome. It takes us to the root of our common life and gives us a living word as we learn about liturgy, language, culture, tradition, and revision. I heartily commend it." --The Most Reverend Andrew S. Hutchinson, Archbishop and Primate, The Anglican Church of Canada

"While the essays vary in length, all are thorough. The general quality of the writing and editing has made every page worth reading. It is a book that both teaches well and reads well." --Richard J. Anderson in Historiographer

Publishers Weekly
This new reference work, edited by Boston College professor Hefling and Church Publishing v-p Shattuck, traces the many revisions that the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has undergone and examines the sundry versions of the prayer book used in different countries. (After the American Revolution, for example, Episcopalians in the new United States omitted the prayers for the British king.) Varied liturgies for weddings, argues Gillian Varcoe, show how Anglicans in different times and places responded to culturally specific pressures and changing social understandings about marriage. Throughout, the contributors underscore that "Anglicans do their theology in the context of worship." Given the current energy swirling around the concept of a worldwide Anglican communion, and the West's increased attention to churches in the southern hemisphere, the essays on prayer books in Africa and Asia are especially welcome. Concluding pieces hazard some guesses-sometimes a tad whimsically-about the future of common prayer. What do technological changes mean for the prayer book? Word processors have allowed churches to produce Sunday bulletins, rendering actual books unnecessary. Maybe one day soon, Sunday worshippers will read the liturgy from Palm Pilots or BlackBerry devices. This rich volume is sure to become the definitive source for studies of the Book of Common Prayer. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Hefling (systematic theology, Boston Coll.) and Shattuck (vice president & editorial director, Church Pub.) have compiled essays on the origin and evolution of The Book of Common Prayer. First created in England in 1549, this prayer book was eventually taken to the far reaches of the British Empire. Today, Anglicans use a "family of prayer books" based on the original text. Written by a diversity of experts, the essays cover indigenous prayer books in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and other areas and discuss how diverse and sundry cultures have impacted their content. For example, prayer books in Africa have incorporated African mourning rituals into their funeral rites, and Myanmar prayer books include Buddhist ideas in communion services. The essays even address electronic or "e-prayer books" for the 21st century. Although dozens of worldwide editions are in circulation, the same central texts are used (e.g., daily prayers, the Eucharist). The guide is enhanced with illustrations and sidebars as well as a chronology (1535-2004), a glossary, a select bibliography, and, of course, an index. Librarians will have difficulty deciding whether to place this in the circulating or reference collections-or perhaps both. Recommended for academic and special libraries.-C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195297621
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 708,559
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Boston College

Church Publishing, Morehouse, and Seabury Books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    Jon Meacham of Newsweek says

    'This a brilliant, accessible, and Virgilian guide to that most influential of texts: The Book of Common Prayer. Anyone who cares about language, about sacramental life, and about Anglicanism will find Hefling and Shattuck's volume indispensable, for it takes readers to the roots of the faith, shedding new light on old words, bringing our past into vivid focus, and reminding us that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.' ---Jon Meacham, Managing Editor of Newsweek and author of 'American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation'

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