"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Theologia Prima

Next after virtually any one of Alexander Schmemann's books, David Fagerberg's Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology? (Hillenbrand) remains my favorite book in the area. It is a wonderfully written book, full of great insights from the ancient and modern Church, and from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox sources--chiefly Schmemann himself, to whom a good portion of Fagerberg's book is dedicated. My students consistently and uniformly react very favorably to Fagerberg's work, and rightly so.

First published several years ago now, it was this month released in electronic form by the publisher, who tells us this about the text:
"Liturgical Theology" is often a convenient label for any theology that has loosely to do with worship or Eucharist. In this innovative book, David W. Fagerberg distinguishes liturgical theology from a general theology of worship. He proposes two defining attributes of liturgical theology:
(1) "lex orandi": It is manifested in the Church's historical rites.
(2) "theologia prima": It is theology done by the liturgical community.

By this understanding, liturgical theology can be adequately defined as the faith of the Church in motion, and as such is the basis of the Church's "lex credendi". To see liturgical theology (to witness lex orandi), one must go to the deep structures of the rite. Liturgical asceticism gives us the capacity to participate in the liturgical response.

Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology? is a thorough revision of Dr. Fagerberg's groundbreaking What Is Liturgical Theology? (The Liturgical Press, 1992). It has been reorganized for easier reference and contains new examples as well as more anecdotal material derived from Dr. Fagerberg's extensive experience as a teacher and theologian.

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