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The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 Hardcover – 8 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st edition edition (8 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199207178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199207176
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 2 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,284 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. He was a British Academy Exchange Fellow at the Huntington Library, California, in 2007 and is currently a research professor holding a three-year Major Research Fellowship with the Leverhulme Trust (2009-12).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By John Briggs on 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Wychdoctor on 8 Nov. 2012
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Salus on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ray on 17 Mar. 2012
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 By Barry M on 26 Sept. 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim62 VINE VOICE on 25 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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 most powerful religious texts ever written in the English language.

Oxford are to be congratulated on publishing this edition, which allows is to compare the complez stresses and religious changes which influenced the three texts contained herein - 1549, 1559 and 1662. We can follow the journey from its origins in Edward VIs reign to its final version under the restored Charles II in 1662.

What clearly emerges is the compromises between reformers and traditionalists at all stages of the complex sequence of events that we label as the Reformation - as if this were a single event - whereas even allowing for Mary's attempt to roll back the Protestent tide and restore a Catholic England - we can seen that Protestantism as such, was often a house divided against itself.

An excellent edition.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic resource for historians working on anything involving the revisions of the Prayer Book. A neat, comprehensive and comparative study like this has been long overdue. One is presented with the very first version of the Book of Common Prayer, the first Edwardine version of 1549, then with the Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559, and finally with the 1662 version which is still the authorative one to the present day. The editions of the text seem excellent and trustworthy. So far this is all very useful.....

BUT why on earth is the 1552 second Edwardine Prayer Book version not included????? This version was far more important than the 1559 version: 1552 introduced huge changes to the 1549 next, reflecting a far more radical and 'reformed' approach and theological understanding. Admittedly, the 1559 version is quite similar to the 1552 one - but then, it would be more helpful for the context of such a study to have the earlier version (i.e. 1552). As it is, if one wants to know whether a change found in the 1559 version was introduced as early as 1552, one has to go and find that version: and that can be quite an enterprise - as there is no recent good, scholarly edition of the 1552 text.

Btw, yes, there was also a 1560 Latin version (for use at the universities) which is not included here. No problem with that, as it was never really of any major importance. But 1552 is a big elephant in the room to miss.

Anyhow, for what it is, the book is very well prepared and helpful, with informative explanatory notes. It's a shame it turns out to be slightly useless - or not sufficient, to say the least - if one wants to trace the development of a certain text through the different versions of the Prayer Book. What a shame... This could have been a marvellous resource - the definitive study on the Prayer Book. As it is, however, it's a big missed opportunity...
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