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The Shape of the Liturgy, New Edition Hardcover – 24 Jun 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 806 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury 3PL; New edition edition (24 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826479421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415279840
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 897,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Liturgy for Dom Gregory Dix is no branch of arch/aeological study, it is in all its srtages and forms the living Body of Christ upon earth. His account is alive and absorbing' Church Times; 'The Shape of the Liturgy changed not only the shape of liturgical study but also p[ropfopundly inflienced worship itself. Half a century after its publication, we are perhaps beginning to discover the debt we owe to Dom Gregory Dix' The Biographer."

About the Author

Dom Gregory Dix was an Anglican Benedictine Monk of Nashdom and an outstanding scholar with an international reputation. The Shape of the Liturgy was his masterpiece.

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S W. vanOs on 1 May 2002
Format: Hardcover
To my way of thinking this book ought never to be out of print and should always be available simply because it represents a point of departure for all liturgical studies done since 1945. Though some of Dix's material is now somewhat dated and scholarship has moved on, there is something quite compelling about this narrative and it can still be read with profit and edification. I have recently purchased one of these because I was fed up with always having to borrow it from the library and it has a treasured place on my book shelf along with the more recent liturgical studies of people like Frank Senn and Robert E. Webber. This is definitely money well spent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anglo-Irishman on 23 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Dix's tour de force: a big volume that examines the history of the Church's liturgy from its beginnings up to 1945. It has been influential in liturgical studies ever since. He proposes a four-fold shape to the liturgy, by which he means the Mass, and particularly the Eucharistic Prayer and what follows. The four-fold action is 1) taking (the bread and wine); 2) giving thanks over them; 3) breaking the Host; 4) sharing the Elements. The book is very readable and is a clergy must-have for both study and reference. The new (2005) introduction is an academic study in itself and brings us forward 60 years since Dix wrote it. Looking at a contemporary Mass, Anglican or RC, the shape of the whole service is essentially the same as in early times.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great reprint of classical study book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
*The* Classic of Liturgical Studies 31 May 2002
By David Bennett - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Most Liturgical scholars own a copy of Dix's `Shape of the Liturgy.' The reason is that Dix is perhaps the most thorough and erudite liturgical scholar of the 20th century. `Shape' is a classic that has fundamentally shaped most Protestant and Catholic denominations. To the person not familiar with `liturgy,' it means `work of the people,' and is the way in which Christians have traditionally worshipped. It is a common worship, in which the worship of various separate churches is similar, but varies by time of year, and with the local culture.
Dix starts with an introduction to the Liturgy; then he moves on to the performance of the Liturgy. Then he begins his historical quest, in which he attempts to find the roots of the liturgy in the Biblical documents, moving into the pre-Nicene time period. It was in the very early pre-Nicene times that the Eucharist came to consist of a four-action shape: offering, thanksgiving, fraction, and communion. He discusses the Eucharistic prayer, the local traditions, the meaning and theology of the Eucharist, consecration theology, sanctification of time, and the ceremonial. He then discusses the completion of the shape, and the use of variable prayers. Then he covers the medieval liturgy, the Reformation liturgies (with particular attention to Anglican issues), and a call for renewal.
Overall, Dix's work is monumental. Sometimes, it is a bit too monumental. The work is 764 pages long. Much of what he says could be condensed into probably 200 pages effectively. However, his attention to detail is marvelous: he has read every Church father writing 2-3 times! Dix is partly responsible for the rediscovery of Liturgy in most mainline Churches, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church to the United Methodist Church. His research into early liturgies has demonstrated the Jewish nature of many Christian liturgies. I highly recommend this book. However, a little patience is needed to get through the entire book.
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Senior Pastor of Grace Community Fellowship 7 Mar. 2005
By David W. Kaiser - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An excellent overview of the liturgical development of the early church. I would recommend this book to all people like myself that are non-liturgical. Dix brings out that the general outline of the service of the Eucharist "is everywhere most remarkably the same after 300 years of independent existance in the widely scattered church" in the Mediterranean region. If the non-liturical fundamentalist arguement that pagan intrusion was the origin of the Eucharist service were true, we would expect to see widely divergent local customs surrounding the eucharist service. The only explanation to explain the remarkable similarity is a common origin that must date to the very beginning of the Christian movement, before its missionary expansion. This would mean that the original design of the Eucharist liturgical service was done with Apostolic oversight.

This is blockbuster news to a non-liturgical cleric like myself. After reading this book, I now have more of a respect for the desire of my liturgic brother to keep the shape of the liturgy as it has been handed down to him or her. And I now will be more open to incorporating parts of the liturgy into our non-liturgical service. This is a must read for those that are contemplating throwing out the customs and practices of the liturgical service as being boring and repetitious. Instead the ministry of the liturgical church needs to teach what Dom Gregory Dix writes to the laity of the church, so they understand the various parts of the service, what they mean and their Apostolic origins. If someone had done that for me when I was an adolescent growing up in a liturgical church, I might have stayed in the church, instead of moving on to be a pastor in a non-liturgical denomination.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
A Classic on Liturgy returns 15 Aug. 2000
By Mac D. Culver - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Everything old is new again" seems to have impacted the Christian Church in the 21st Century. With the "rediscovery" of the richness and depth of the ancient forms of worship, the reprint of this classic on liturgy is very welcomed.
Dom Gregory Dix, an Anglican scholar, began a short presentation of the shape of liturgy that by his own admission became an expansive examination of how the Church has worshipped over the centuries. The research is outstanding and the general usefulness of the book is amazing considering the length to which the author has gone to verify his conclusions.
This outstanding work is a key for those theologians, pastors and priests seriously interested in the worship of the church through the ages. A serious layman can obtain much from the book as well.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Classic 11 Jan. 2007
By Charles E. Connelly - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dom Gregory Dix's "The Shape of the Liturgy," originally published in 1945, is a classic work that anyone who appreciates the importance and beauty of liturgical planning and development should own. This work represents one of the first serious attempts to influence liturgical reform in the Church of England toward pre-Nicene forms, and Dix's overarching structure of "take,bless, break, and give" still serves us well today. This book is written in a very accessible way, and it provides the background for understanding the theology behind many of the post-Vatican II reforms. I highly recommend it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Always complete 6 Nov. 2007
By George - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the end all for the liturgy. Detailed to a fault and well written. Dix did christianity a favor by producing this work for the people.
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