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p. 1Introduction

Understanding the Book of Common Prayerlocked

  • Brian Cummings


Understanding the Book of Common Prayer requires many approaches: historical, linguistic, theological, ethical, political, literary. Apart from two brief interludes, it was England’s official book of Christian worship from 1549 to 2000. The British Empire imposed it use on peoples all over the globe, and it became translated into nearly 200 languages and dialects. The Introduction explains that one way of understanding the Book of Common Prayer is as an example of liturgy—a set form of words and gestures in a religious ritual. However, it is also a carrier of national identity, bringing politics and religion together. It also considers whether the Book of Common Prayer at heart is Catholic or Protestant.

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