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The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 [Hardcover]

Brian Cummings
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 13.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Sep 2011
'In the midst of life we are in death' The words of the Book of Common Prayer have permeated deep into the English language all over the world. For nearly 500 years, and for countless people, it has provided a background fanfare for a marriage or a funeral march at a burial. Yet this familiarity also hides a violent and controversial history. When it was first produced the Book of Common Prayer provoked riots and rebellion, and it was banned before being translated into a host of global languages and adopted as the basis for worship in the USA and elsewhere to the present day. This edition presents the work in three different states: the first edition of 1549, which brought the Reformation into people's homes; the Elizabethan prayer book of 1559, familiar to Shakespeare and Milton; and the edition of 1662, which embodies the religious temper of the nation down to modern times. Far from being a book for the religious only, the Book of Common Prayer is one of the seminal texts of human experience and a manual of everyday ritual: a book to live, love, and die to.

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The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 + The Book of Common Prayer: Past, Present and Future: A 350th Anniversary Celebration
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (8 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199207178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199207176
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

the best modern edition New Statesman Everything has been planned and executed faultlessly, from the massive undertaking of the editions themselves (for which Cummings consulted hundreds of copies of the Book of Common Prayer), right down to the details, like the glossary, and the enriching features, like the note on music. The result is a book that is at once accessible to a lay reader with little knowledge of the history of the Book of Common Prayer and stimulating to academics working in the fields of church history, book history, Ruth Ahnert, Cambridge Quarterly This book is an exemplary text ... the reproduction of the three different prayer books is immaculate, and the introductory commentary is original and thought provoking. Marcus Harmes, Parergon - Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

About the Author

Brian Cummings received his BA at Cambridge University, where he also took his PhD under the supervision of the poet Geoffrey Hill and the church historian Eamon Duffy. He was previously a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge before moving to Sussex, and, from October 2012, the University of York. He was a British Academy Exchange Fellow at the Huntington Library, California, in 2007 and held a three-year Major Research Fellowship with the Leverhulme Trust from 2009 to 2012.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Edition - but misleading title 10 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover
After some hesitation, I have given this five stars (i.e. I have reviewed it for what it is, rather than what it should have been.) It is an essential work for anyone interested in the history of the Book of Common Prayer (especially at Amazon's 2011 price!) Its Unique Selling Point is that it prints the original 1662 text of the Book of Common Prayer (not easily obtainable, as I explain below) - just in time to coincide with its 350th anniversary. Brian Cummings's introduction is very good, but perhaps much too abbreviated, leading to some imprecision. The notes are excellent, but difficult to follow because they are cumulative - you need to check that a point hasn't already been made against an earlier text. Again, fuller notes could always have been made (e.g. the doxology to the Lord's Prayer is never properly explained.)

The title is misleading because only shortened versions of the 1549 and 1559 editions are included, and the full texts are not easily reconstructable from the information given - they are, however (if regrettably) probably the most readily obtainable versions of those editions. (The 1552 edition - a key work - is not included, and neither are the 1550 and 1552 ordinals - the latter is a serious omission, as it is almost identical to the Elizabethan one, and would thus have supplemented the 1559 text.) The texts given are lightly modernised (e.g. for i/j and u/v) - this is perfectly satisfactory for the 1662 text, but less so for the 1549 and 1559 texts, especially as contractions and elisions are also silently expanded.

Serious students really need to supplement this book with E.C.S.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought as a present for someone far more religious than I am, I almost kept it back to read in detail for myself! The language of the Book of Common Prayer, like that of the King James Bible, is beautiful and easy to understand once you really listen to it or get to know it, unlike that of 'modern' and 'popular' versions which are largely banal and transient! The three versions included here clearly show how the prayer book was were refined modified and 'fine tuned', it's rather like comparing 'the director's cut' versions of films on DVD with the versions shown at the cinema when you first saw them! I still wish that they hadn't dropped the 'carnal desires of the brute beasts that have no understanding' from the wedding service though. After all, I know a lot of folk like that !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reminder of the importance of the BCP 17 Mar 2012
By Ray
Format:Hardcover
In the 350th anniversary year of the 1662 Prayer Book, Brian Cummings could not have given us a more important reminder of the importance of the Book of Common Prayer in our history. It's a beautifully presented publication, and priced very modestly. I wouldn't wish to be without this profound piece of work on my bookshelf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful tribute 29 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
Cummings has done an extraordinary job. His prefatory material to the evolutionary development of these texts serves to illumine the most familiar works of the English canon. Even if we include the King James Version, there are few words that have a place in our heritage that don't stem from "The Book of Common Prayer." Most of the texts in this volume should be familiar. Their development from inception to Restoration is not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Barry M
Format:Hardcover
This book is a useful resource for anyone who is interested in the development of the Church of England's prayer books and liturgy. It provides a comparison between Cranmer's original 1549 prayer book, the Elizabethan revision of 1559 and the 1662 book that we are all familiar with. It is a pity that it does not also include the 1552 revision as well, since that would show the more protestant influence that came in in the later years of the reign of Edward VI. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worshipful Book 16 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In contrast to the other review, I deliberately used this book for worship over a two week holiday. Easy use of bookmarks, 'go to' and searching enabled movement rather faster than (some) page turning, to move around in worship. Switching to a Kindle version of the King James Bible for the readings, using again bookmarks for both morning and evening prayer couldn't have been simpler.

The main drawback is getting to the textual notes from the services, easy enough in reverse, however.

This is an interesting and useful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good service 14 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was delivered promptly. This edition of 3 Prayer Books is very useful for researchers of religious history. I wish it also included the 1607 edition of the Prayer Book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy, 3 texts back to back, very convenient. 17 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found (as I expected) this book very useful. It has three major books(at least from a Church of England point of view) in one volume. I like studying the development of the Book of Common prayer and have wanted the 1559 text for some time. I like it in kindle format because it saves bookshelf space. It is unfortunate that the 1552 text is not included for comparison and completeness. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the Church of England and in England.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Majestic
This is very impressive. There isn't much to add to all the other reviews but this edition does seem very comprehensive and reliable.
The language is truly beautiful.
Published 5 months ago by The Emperor
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
As with all the OWC's religious texts, this investigates the Book of Common Prayer as a piece of literature and with intellectual vigour which makes it of interest to those of us... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stuart Burns
5.0 out of 5 stars Super edition
This is a nicely produced book featuring three key version of the Book of Common Prayer. These are not fully complete, but for the interested reader rather than scholar there is... Read more
Published 5 months ago by downkiddie
5.0 out of 5 stars The progressive refinement of the BCP.
A very good book on the history and transformation of the book of common prayer. Though the earlier editions do not appear to have been published in full, but there is enough in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Uenna
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative edition
This is a very useful resource for anyone interested in liturgical history and theology, presenting 3 key editions of the Book of Common Prayer in a single volume. Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. V. Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of England's heritage - and a gift to the world
One doesn't have to be Christian or even particularly religious to be moved by the numinous power of the words of the Book of Common Prayer - but this is without doubt one of the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tim62
4.0 out of 5 stars The words need no introduction - the edition is "ok"
A useful compilation of the texts of the BCP in it's earliest incarnations. Binding is, the same as others in the OWC series, reasonably standard paper and a firm binding. Read more
Published 5 months ago by The Penguin
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard
This is a comprehensive yet slightly bland production of The Book of Common Prayer. There is a useful notes section at the beginning which gives some interesting insight into some... Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Common Prayer
This is a really thick book, 820 pages and contains the texts of three of the Books of Common Prayer written in 1549, 1559 and 1662. Read more
Published 6 months ago by P. A. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Good comparative book - just a little unwieldy.
Useful to show development of ideas - how so much of the Prayer book is bound up with the history of the 16th and 17th centuries and the strongly held views about reformation... Read more
Published 6 months ago by R T
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