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The purpose of the course is to survey the Book of Common Prayer from the sixteenth century, through succeeding three centuries, through the ecumenical liturgical movement of the twentieth century, to the present-day book authorized by the Episcopal Church in 1979. The British churches will provide the major focus up to the latter years of the eighteenth century when, in post-revolutionary North America, Anglicans first begin to modify the exclusively British setting and character of the Prayer Book. Throughout the course students will be encouraged to relate the developments of this distinctive tradition with those in other parts of the larger Christian community. The course will review and analyze the historical development of liturgy, including rite, ceremony, music, and architectural surroundings. Throughout, attention will be given to the relation of community worship to personal devotion and to the character of the larger community in which liturgy is celebrated. The central focus of class sessions will be the discussion of successive texts from the Prayer Books in relation with the dominant and demotic discourses of the society for which they were intended. Emphasis will be given to “the regular services appointed for public worship” in the Episcopal Church: the Holy Eucharist and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer” although attention will given from time to time to the Litany and the Pastoral Offices. Readings on the historical development and the theological assumptions and implications of the Prayer Book will be read by participants during the course of the semester.

Publication Date

January 2007


Asbury Theological Seminary


History, Florida, CH650, Spring, SP07, Church, FL, Tutorial, Orlando



CH 650 The Book of Common Prayer across The Centuries