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Thursday, 11 October 2012

history of #christianity in 15 #objects - no. 4 the #bcp - book of common prayer

by Rev'd Canon Dr Judith Maltby

in summary

- 1662 book of common prayer - still in use in church of england and one that has being a key reference point for liturgies around the world in anglican circles

- before it there were 3 major versions of the book of common prayer - stretching over the cofe 1st century after the break from rome

- the 2 prayer books - 1549 and 1552 - were produced in the short reign of edward the 6th but were surppressed by his roman catholic sister - mary the 1st

- in 1559 - 1 year into elizabeth the 1st's reign - a 3rd version of cramner's prayer book received the authorisation of parliament and crown in an act of uniformity - and was the prayer book used till 1662 - so the 1559 version was thye prayer book of shakespeare

- what is the impact of these texts? - the 1st fully vernacular forms for worship for the english people

- the book of common prayer has a social history as well as a spiritual one - as does the church

- although resisted initially the 1662 came to be a touchstone - a symbol of a church and a people's religious identity - so a story of continuity as well as discontinuity

- religious change takes time to take root - as did the reformation

- 1549 book of prayer caused rebellion in cornwall as they rejected it - and some puritans thought the 1662 version had to much "popery" in it

- a dynamic and contested text - yet it became a common text  - shared by priests and people  - owned by neither 

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