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The Book of Common Prayer The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 11 Jul 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (11 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199645205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199645206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 4.1 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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)

magnificent edition (Diarmaid MacCulloch, London Review of Books)

superb edition...excellent notes and introduction (Rowan Williams, Times Literary Supplement)

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.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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
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
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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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: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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 more than enough here. In the lengthy notes which preceed the original texts it is made clear which parts are included and those that are not. Taken as a whole, everything one might ever want is here.

This book excels in the highly readable introduction from Brian Cummings. A fascinating history of the prayer book and England's wider religious journey, it is enjoyable for those with little knowledge and for those who would like to learn more. It makes clear the crucial role the Book had in the reformation. From day one Catholics and those of more traditional tastes were dismayed, as were Puritans who thought it was far too close to the Church of Rome. These were never truly settled, and as Cummings pointed out, this matter of religious division led to civil war. Charting the history of the Book from its predecessor in Luther's "Deutsche Mass" to the twentieth century history of rewrites and amendments, the story is a long one and as Cummings makes the analogue, it is like a character in a novel in the way it itself changes and also alters history.

This most satisfying edition is wonderful as a reference book to turn to time and again, and an enlightening introduction to the subject.
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