Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

They Shaped Our Worship: Essays on Anglican Liturgists

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

They Shaped Our Worship: Essays on Anglican Liturgists

Article excerpt

They Shaped our Worship: Essays on Anglican Liturgists. Edited by Christopher Irvine. Alcuin Club Collections. 75. London: SPCK, 1998. viii + 164 pp. $39.95 (cloth).

This book is a collection of brief lives and appreciations of the work of those who might be claimed in some way to have shaped Anglican worship. However, although the subtitle of this book indicates that the subject is Anglican liturgists, it is really concerned with English Anglican liturgists. Among the twenty-three subjects, two are American, W, Palmer Ladd (by Michael Moriarty) and Massey Shepherd (Ruth Meyers).

The English liturgists represented are an odd mixture, having in common an educational background through Oxbridge and the public schools, and little else. There are of course figures of such massive influence as Dix and Frere, whose place in a volume of this nature would be disputed by none. There are scholars, such as Ratcliff and Willis. There are those whose names are known only to cognoscenti (such as E. C. R. Lamburn, the author of Ritual Notes) and there are nonentities such as Henry de Candole (de Candole was the English bishop who saddled the Church of England with a two-year lectionary different from the rest of Christendom; his place cannot be maintained on the basis that he "shaped our worship" as the lectionary has now been abandoned).

The essays likewise are somewhat variable. One may contrast not only the subjects of Dix and de Candole, but also their biographers. Paul Bradshaw's essay on Dix is balanced and assured, critical yet respectful, whereas Colin Buchanan's panegyric of de Candole verges on the chummy.

The chief interest in the book is perhaps the sidelong light which it throws upon the current state of liturgy in the Church of England, not only through the work of the historical figures considered in the essays but also through the choice of contributors and through some of their reflections. …

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