Polity, Piety and the Book of Common Prayer
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Publisher: SCM Press
2012 is the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, now widely used in the Church of England and throughout the Anglican Communion. Comfortable Words draws together some of the world's leading liturgical scholars and historians who offer a comprehensive and accessible study of the Prayer Book and its impact on both Church and society over the last three and a half centuries. Comfortable Words includes new and original scholarship here about the use of the Book of Common Prayer at different periods during its life. It also sets out some key material on the background to the production of both the Tudor books and the seventeenth-century book itself. The book is aimed at scholars, students in theological colleges, courses and universities, but there is sufficient accessibility of style for it to be accessible to others who are interested in the Prayer Book more widely in the church and to intelligent lay people. The book is unique in the way that it studies the Prayer Book and looks at the impact of it, both on the Church and on English society.
With fresh scholarly insight, this excellent collection of essays traces the influence of the Book of Common Prayer from its Tudor origins to the present day. This volume is essential reading for those with an academic interest in the history and liturgy of the Anglican Church as well as clergy and laity charged with leading worship today. As the Church of England comes to terms with having an unprecedented range of liturgical resources at its disposal, a critical consideration of Archbishop Cranmer's masterly attempt at liturgical uniformity is both timely and challenging. -- Simon Jones Stephen Platten and Christopher Woods have brought together a set of impressively scholarly contributions to our understanding of the making of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and its fortunes over 350 years. The essays paint a vivid picture of a book that, since its inauguration, has been in dialogue with the communities it has sought to nurture in godliness. If it is no longer the only voice in the conversation, its claim to a distinctive role in defining what it means to be Anglican remains unchallenged. -- Bridget Nichols This engaging bird's-eye view gives a sweep of the history of the use of the BCP, through the long period of its glory days, reigning supreme, widely treasured, and on to choppier modern waters, where we are no longer sure what place the BCP should have, and modern reforms lack its ability to focus the character and self-understanding of Anglicanism. This seamless book, which almost reads as if by one author, is both scholarly and accessible to the ordinary reader, and you are likely to have difficulty putting it down. -- Fr George Guiver CR