"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, October 4, 2012

Honoring Maxwell Johnson

The University of Notre Dame is noteworthy in many respects but it is especially its doctoral program in liturgical studies that enjoys a stellar scholarly reputation, and for good reason. People like Maxwell Johnson, whose previous books I have noted here and here, lead the field today and enjoy wide respect. It is no surprise, then, that his colleagues, friends, and students have collaborated on a new book being released this month, A Living Tradition: On the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012), 192pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Maxwell Johnson has made a multiple contributions to our understanding of liturgical history and liturgical theology. This volume honors his work by offering a set of important essays by respected scholars that bridge the distance between scholarship and praxis, to be accessible and relevant to both pastoral ministers and academic theologians. It is organized according to three categories: liturgical year, Christian initiation, and Eucharist. Within these categories, the contributors are especially attentive to three important aspects of liturgical history: the role that important figures in liturgical history played as liturgical pastors; how liturgical history has been used in shaping contemporary liturgical rites and prayers; how liturgical history informs contemporary understandings and beliefs. Ultimately, the book pays tribute to Johnson s contributions to the life of the church by exploring ways that the study of liturgical history might help the church remain faithful to God and to the sacramental worldview that continues to define and characterize classic Christianity.
There are numerous Eastern Christian contributors or articles from people with specialization in Eastern Christian liturgics--Byzantine and Armenian especially. These include Stefanos Alexopoulos (whose book on the Byzantine Pre-Sanctified Liturgy is, according to Peter Galadza, the scholarly standard of our time), Nicholas V. Russo, Bryan D. Spinks, Robert F. Taft, and Gabriele Winkler.

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