Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Liturgical Book List for Would be Anglicans

The collect for the second Sunday in Advent says "read, mark,learn, and inwardly digest" which makes reading the first step towards learning almost anything. Actually we learn through what we see the fastest but short of transporting everyone to an almost mythical classical Anglican prayer book parish, reading will have to do. But what should be read? Certainly not Ritual Notes or even Fortescue and O'Connell. If a priest wants to know enough to produce a classical Anglican prayer book service that would meet the expectation of Elizabeth I, what does he need to know?

The priest who began my education in the more practical aspects of Anglicanism gave me a copy of the American prayer book and told me to read it (every word) from cover to cover. And when I had finished, he told me to go back and do it again. That taught me to very carefully read each of the Books of Common Prayer beginning with that of 1549 right up through those of the present day. It is an exercise I would recommend to all.

What I am going to set out now is a list taken from Francis C. Eeles' Prayer Book Revision and Christian Reunion, Some Essentials Discussed in the Light of Liturgical Facts and Principles. It was published by the University Press at Cambridge in 1923. There may be a few book published since which should be added to it, but they would not be many.


Procter and Frere, A New History of the Book of Common Prayer (Macmillian). The best general history.
Brightman, F. E., The English Rite (Rivington, 1915). Contains the full text of 1549, 1442, present P.B. 1662 with originals in parallel columns.
A shorter and more popular book is Everyman's History of the Prayer Book by Dr Percy Dearmer.
A Prayer Book Dictionary contains much useful matter but is uneven.
The English Liturgy (Rivington), a book for use on the altar, is important because it contains a number of proper collects, epistles and gospel which have the authority of several bishops. Up to the present it is the best book for its purpose.


For the history of English ceremonial, including the arrangement of churches and the like, see Some Principles and Services of the Prayer Book, historically considered; ed. J. Wickham Legg (Rivington, 1899), Ecclesiological Essays (1905), Essays in Ceremonial (1905), English Liturgical Colours by Hope and Atchley (S.P.C.K. 1918) For a shorter book, much more suitable for the ordinary reader, see An Introduction to English Liturgical Colours, by Hope and Atchley (S.P.C.K. 1920).
For ceremonial after the Reformation, see Hierurgia Anglicana 3 Vols., ed. Vernon Staley (De la More Press, 1902-4) and English Church Life from the Restoration to the Tractarian Movement, by the late Dr J. Wickham Legg (1914).
For general principles of ceremonial, see Frere, Principles of Ceremonial (Longmans 1906).


The Parson's Handbook, by Dr Percy Dearmer, is a most able summary of the work of our best liturgical scholars, revised by several of them, and forms a guide for practical use in church. It might be unnecessary to add that its contents are in no sense Dr Dearmer's own inventions.
A Directory of Ceremonial (Alcuin Club. Tract XII) is a much shorter guide to carrying out the services upon the same lines.
Illustrations of the Liturgy; drawings illustrating ceremonial, by C. O. Skilbeck (Alcuin Club, Collection XIX).


The Sacrament Reserved, by the late Fr. Freestone (Alcuin Club, Collection XXi, 1917) is the standard work on the subject from the earlier times to the mediaeval period.


Fully dealt with in A History of the Use of Incense, by Dr E. G. Cuthbert F. Atchley (Alcuin Club, Collection XIII, 1909). The standard book on the subject.

There it is! If a priest or parish wants to really be Anglican these are the authorities which will teach them how to do it. The one place that they fall short is in the appropriate music for the rite. And that, in itself, would take volumes. Whether we have experienced it or not, the Anglican rite is intended to be sung much as that of the Orthodox churches. We don't have it happen often but when you do experience it - wow! We will take that issue up later. Look for it.
Labels: books, ceremonial


Alice C. Linsley said...

An excellent list! I'll commend this list to the readers at The Continuum, where they are discussing this here:

Canon Tallis said...

Thank you for the compliment, Alice. I think we Anglicans should remember that there was a time when we had no equals inliturgical scholarship. Hopefully, that may again be the caase.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I believe it will come to pass as Anglicans struggle to find equilibrium. I pray that Anglicans will also become known as fine biblical scholars also. Liturgical studies and biblical studies must never be separated.

Canon Tallis said...

I could not agree with you more, Alice, and it is my hope that we will have a complete new generation of scholars which will seek to emulate the learning of their Caroline forbears in all aspects of Christian scholarship. But scholarship by itself will not save us and we must learn to live the Bible as well a know it. It is my belief that commiting ourselves to the prayer book liturgy in the same spirit as the Orthodox do to their own will be a very important step in making the Church a school of faith and holiness for sinners.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Canon Tallis, a concern I have about Anglican scholarship, and western Biblical scholarship in general, is its reliance on the Enlightenment. I just posted a short essay on this, here:

When you have a moment, please read it and leave me a comment.

Canon Tallis said...

Alice, I will do as you ask very soon, but I must admit that I have already a strong agreement with your criticism. I once spent two years lecturing on the Old Testament and the New. In my prepatory reading I was quite surprised to find that so many scholars relied upon a circular reasoning to achieve their results. I was quite relieved in a conversation with the late Dr Eric Lionel Mascall that he had reached the same conclusion. In that light I have quite an amusing story from an earlier time that I will post soon in this blog.
Now I will to the recommended post.