After the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), in its various revisions, is the most important foundational text of Anglican Christianity. Often praised for its literary beauty and influence, it has nevertheless become unfamiliar – or even offensive – to Anglicans who worship mainly with new liturgies produced in recent decades. This course will explore the sources and historical development of the Prayer Book tradition from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, the BCP’s importance in the history of doctrinal controversy and Anglican identity, and how the BCP’s liturgies have been variously received and interpreted over time, including critiques by modern liturgical scholarship. Major themes: the Bible and worship; liturgical language; the sacraments; sin and repentance; individual and community; ecclesiology and ecumenism; the BDP and “churchmanship”.
Prerequisite: History of Christianity 2 or equivalent.
Assessment: weekly quizzes, two short papers.
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