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A Dictionary for Episcopalians Paperback


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A Dictionary for Episcopalians + The Episcopal Handbook + Welcome to the Episcopal Church: An Introduction to Its History, Faith, and Worship
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications; Revised edition (April 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561011789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561011780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An easy-to-read beginner’s descriptive guide to the sometimes strange world of ecclesial language . . . should be helpful to both new and lifelong Episcopalians. (John H. Westerhoff III)

I heartily recommend John Wall’s Dictionary. . . . It is well-written, and considerate of differing positions and points of view . . . should be in use in every parish. (John E. Booty)

A ‘revised, expanded, updated’ edition of the handy, illustrated reference for Episcopalians or those interested in things Episcopal. . . . One of those ‘should be in every library’ books. (The Living Church)

A Dictionary for Episcopalians is the ideal (yes, ideal) reference book for new members, confirmation and inquirers’ classes, altar guilds, and church school teachers. It is well-written. . . . A staff pick. (Resource Center In New York)

This dictionary makes an excellent confirmation present and every church office should have a copy. One can browse in this book, picking it up from time to time, expecting to learn something new each time. Enjoy the clean layout which matches the cleanly written sentences. (The Southwestern Episcopalian)

This helpful guide offers definitions and instruction around common liturgical, biblical and instructional terms, and also guides the reader through the maze we call the church. (Resources Hotline)

About the Author

JOHN H. WALL is Professor of English at North Carolina State University and priest associate at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh,North Carolina

PHILIPPA J. ANDERSON is an art and art history teacher at The Walker School in Marietta, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very understandable, short, and readable.
K. Emge
Every Episcopalian church should have this available for new members.
Unregulated Female
I use my frequently and highly recommend it.
"mtconner"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the surface of things, there might seem something a bit precious about a dictionary that explains "churchy" terms. It smacks of private language and esoteric, self-enclosed culture--two characteristics frequently ascribed to the Episcopal Church. But in fact John Wall's (revised & expanded) dictionary is a gem for at least three reasons. First, it helps the average Episcopalian to get in better touch with his/her tradition. Two thousand years of practice are embedded in the Eucharist and other religious liturgies, and it helps to heighten appreciation and celebration when the richness of that practice is better understood. (The priest's washing of hands is called "lavabo," from the Latin for "I will wash," and dates back at least to Jewish ceremonial ablutions.) Second, any Episcopalian who will ever serve on the altar guild or vestry or as a lay eucharistic minister is going to run across terms that are unfamiliar--paten, pall, centrum, burse, etc. In fact, people in the pew who play no other role in church are likely to be confused at some terms: for example, concelebration, collect, rood, proper. So the dictionary is incredibly helpful from a purely practical perspective. Finally, it's simply very cool to learn that objects in the church and acts in liturgy actually have names: cincture, solemn vs. simple bow, orans position. Believe it or not, this is one dictionary you'll read straight through.
By the way: a dossal is the "large piece of fabric, often decorated with symbols, hung on the wall behind the altar. The term is derived from the Latin word for 'back'" (p 45).
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. Briggs on September 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
For many worshippers on Sunday in an Episcopal church, the intricacies of the liturgy do not occupy much thought beyond where in the prayer book we're reading from right now. Still, the Episcopal Church derives its current liturgy from a vast and rich tradition stretching back hundreds of years. The dictionary provides a thorough explanation of the liturgy, the vestments, the church architecture, the beliefs, and even the polity. Alphabetized by item, almost everything you might think of to ask about it is defined and discussed somewhere, from ambulatory to narthex. Even the most grizzled Episcopalian veteran might have difficulty telling you the difference between a rochet and a chimere, but it's spelled out plainly here. If it's not in this dictionary, it probably doesn't even HAVE a name. A very valuable reference.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a very handy guide, not just for Episcopalians, but for members of any liturgical church, for the Episcopal church does not have a monopoly on many of the things defined herein, but rather shares these with the larger body of Christendom. Granted, there are many things uniquely Episcopalian, but the appeal of this book should not be limited to that audience.
John Wall, the author, and Philippa Goodwin, illustrator, have put together a very handy guide for learning what's what in the church. The vestments worn by bishops, priests, deacons, and other ministers in the liturgy are very specific and almost everything worn has an historical background. Many terms are derived from the Latin, owing to the shared history with the Western Catholic church. Despite the general Anglicanisation of the church, these Latinate terms endured.
In some respects, Anglicans seem to speak a foreign language. First time visitors to the church are often lost, as one must juggle books, learn when to sit, kneel, stand, process, and then listen in as the commentary around them may begin to take the form of a secret medieval code. 'Oops, the acolytes forgot to put out the lavabo again.' 'My, would you look at that tattered tippet? It must always get caught on the sedalia.' 'I was sorry to miss the exsultet, but the curate dropped the cruet in the sacristy, and I couldn't make it back to the narthex for the start of the procession...'
Yes, all of these terms and more are explained in plain English in the alphabetically arranged entries of the dictionary. The illustrations help in terms of vestments, 'furniture' pieces, various postures, and more.
Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
A Dictionary For Episcopalians is a core and essential reference to the language of the Episcopal Church. This newest edition has been thoroughly updated and expanded to include new terms that have come into common usage since it was first published in 1985. The language Episcopalians use to describe their Christian faith, worship, and common life is a living thing that continues to expand and evolve within the Episcopalian community of faith. An ideal reference book for new members, A Dictionary For Episcopalians is highly recommended for use by seminarians, clergy, lay leaders, confirmation and inquirers' classes, altar guilds, and church school teachers. A Dictionary For Episcopalians is a welcome and practical addition to personal, clerical, parish library and sacristry collections.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "mtconner" on August 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for the new Episcopalian, like myself and also for the lifetime church member. When I took it to a recent class, it was borrowed at least once by everyone in the class, including the priest who was teaching. It is written for the layperson who wants to know more about about the Episcopal service and church without having to search through volumes looking for information. I use my frequently and highly recommend it.
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