Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On the making of prayer books

From The Living Church-

One of my favorite things about the Anglican prayer book tradition, at least as it appears today, is the relative freedom of its texts. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer exists in officially authorized forms, of course, thanks to the oversight of the Custodian. But the texts may be freely and licitly copied, adapted, reprinted, set to music, or what have you, without any fear of copyright infringement or unofficial censure by the liturgical mafia. I do not know if this has always been the case, or if it is simply more visibly the case in this age of digital media. In comparison, the Roman Catholic liturgical world is plagued by copyright issues on official text translations, leaving the impression, especially regarding music, that anyone wishing to make creative offerings for the liturgy must submit to the governing intelligentsia.

The free availability of texts, however, does not mean that texts are freely available in useful forms. Church Publishing, the official book production arm of the Episcopal Church, does an excellent job of making prayer books and hymnals. This would be sufficient, perhaps, in an earlier age of prayer book use, but it falls short in the post-1979 liturgical scene. Earlier prayer books, like the American 1928 book, contained almost everything needed for a normal Sunday or feast day liturgy. Most importantly, the lections of the day were printed with the other propers. The 1979 book, with its sprawling devotion to new resources (including the sacred triduum, a triumph of the Oxford Movement if there ever was one), cut these out in the interest of space. What remains is a liturgical resource more than a Book of Common Prayer proper; to use the 1979 prayer book requires other books in almost every instance.

More here-

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