"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).

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fondly Imagining the Liturgical Past

The Byzantine liturgical historian Robert Taft's 2000 essay, "Eastern Presuppositions and Western Liturgical Renewal" first alerted me to the uses and abuses of Christian history in service of present political agendas. It is a fascinating study in the selective appeal to "the East" by Latin liturgical reformers to give cover to what they wanted to do.

Later this year we shall have a collection of scholarly articles that continues to explore such istoriographical questions: Teresa Berger and Bryan D. Spinks, eds., Liturgy's Imagined Past/s (Pueblo Books, 2016), 320pp.

 About this book we are told:

This book calls attention to the importance of scholarly reflection on the writing of liturgical history. The essays not only probe the impact of important shifts in historiography but also present new scholarship that promises to reconfigure some of the established images of liturgy’s past. Based on papers presented at the 2014 Yale Institute of Sacred Music Liturgy Conference, Liturgy’s Imagined Past/s seeks to invigorate discussion of methodologies and materials in contemporary writings on liturgy’s pasts and to resource such writing at a point in time when formidable questions are being posed about the way in which historians construct the object of their inquiry.

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