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The Book of Common Prayer The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford World's Classics) Hardcover – 8 Sep 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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  • The Book of Common Prayer The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford World's Classics)
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  • The Book of Common Prayer: Past, Present and Future: A 350th Anniversary Celebration
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  • The "Book of Common Prayer": A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First 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 (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 320,447 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).



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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was sadly very disappointed with this e-book offering from OUP. The only navigation around its contents that you are offered is amongst the prefatory material and the appencices (all very interesting) and then from the whole of the 1549 text to the 1559 text and on to the 1662 text. Once inside one of the three texts there is no navigation available other than by page turn, inserting your own bookmarks or by searching for certain terms. Certainly, there is no possibility of jumping from Morning Prayer to Evening Prayer or to (let alone amongst any of) the Psalter. This makes the book useless if you had ever thought of using it as a prayer book. Of course, I appreciate that it has not been published with that devotional use primarily in mind but then it is surely also not to be expected that it would be read through, page by page, as if it were (say) a history of the BCP.

What a missed opportunity for OUP to show off all the advantagesof e-book versions of their catalogue or, at the very least, to show how navigating them can be as painless as flipping through a hard copy of the book.

This is also unfortunate for Mr Cummings since clearly a lot of research and thought and work has gone into producing this very interesting collection of formative BCP texts - I'm not sure how easily available the 1559 text is - and I do very much hope that Amazon doesn't tar the hard copy editions of his book with this negative review based purely on the OUP e-book format.

True to form, Amazon have been exemplary in their very prompt refund/cancellation of my purchase of the Kindle version. I remain as committed as ever to the Kindle (and to OUP) but just wish that the publisher could have done more in producing this Kindle version than, as it were, producing one long pdf of the hard copy book.
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