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From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist (Revised and Expanded Edition) Paperback – January 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


What a useful book! So many histories of the Eucharist deal primarily with its theological development, it is a pleasure to have a book in a format large enough to accommodate architectural drawings, substantial apposite quotations in the margins, photos of liturgical vessels from Roman times to the present, substantial sections on the written forms of liturgical texts from scrolls to books, the development of music from single voice poetic recitation of psalms and prayers.
Catholic Books Review

The original edition of Foley’s book found a broad audience because it distilled an enormous amount of state-of-the-art liturgical scholarship into an informative, reader-friendly overview of the history of the Roman Mass. This edition repeats that accomplishment and does it even better.
Theological Studies

Edward Foley’s large and graphically grand new edition of From Age to Age helps all of us realize that our Christian roots (in eternity, of course, but also in time, in the form of ceremonies, chalices, architecture) are thoroughly fascinating and humbling, endearing and supportive.
Review for Religious

Edward Foley’s revised and expanded edition of From Age to Age is an even more valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding and appreciating the Christian Eucharist than the original proved to be sixteen years ago. This revision, at nearly twice the size of the original, is a welcome addition to any liturgical library. For all who have not had the opportunity to discover the riches of the first edition, this book is a must for your reading list. You will be sure to walk away with a renewed love of, appreciation for, and understanding of the Eucharist as it has evolved throughout the ages.
Pastoral Music

From Age to Age is the definitive reference and resource for anyone studying this venerable tradition of Christian worship.
The Midwest Book Review

As a text for an undergraduate course on the history of worship, there is simply nothing to compare to it for breadth of material in an engaging format.
Tom Lawson, DMin, Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri

It seems to me that we are living in a time in the life of the Church when there are some who wish to ‘reform’ the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, often in complete ignorance. Alive contemporary liturgy is rooted in preserving the best practices of the past and being open to God’s creative spirit in the present. I believe that Ed Foley’s newly revised and expanded liturgical work From Age to Age is an essential and classic text in helping local parishes and pastors enliven our liturgies. More than just providing an excellent historic overview of liturgy, Ed’s very creative work helps us to understand the theological and cultural settings from which our liturgy has, and continues to, emerge.
Monsignor Robert M. Perkins, Pastor, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hampton, Virginia

The genius of this book is that it is almost a multimedia experience between two covers. . . . Most impressive, though, is the vast number of images throughout the text—art pieces, book illustrations, schematic drawings, floor plans, photographs of buildings and artifacts, musical notation—all of which supplement the author’s argument that to understand the history of the Eucharist fully one needs to look broadly at the culture that surrounded it as well as at the liturgical texts and theological underpinnings. This is a great text for the interested nonprofessional as well as the academic. Parish study groups and liturgy committees would both enjoy this book and benefit greatly from it.
U.S. Catholic


"This is an excellent historical survey of the development of the eucharistic celebration, with very helpful treatment of developments in architecture, music, books, vessels, and eucharistic theology in each major era. Running alongside the text are well-chosen quotations, photographs, diagrams, and musical examples. Each chapter ends with a delightful story suggesting what it must have been like for real people who celebrated the eucharist. This second revised edition is nearly twice as long as the original, and readers will welcome the addition of eucharistic theology to each chapter, as well as the expansion of the quotations and accompanying material. This will be an indispensable text on the eucharist for teachers and students. Congratulations to the author for this achievement--very highly recommended!"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press; Revised edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814630782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814630785
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sally Matter ( on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book covers the history of the liturgy and Christianity from the first century to the present day. Although this is a large time span, Foley breaks down each chapter into several concentrations. Some examples include architecture, music, vessels, and books used in worship. Each catergory is then broken down into sub-catergories that focus on specific objects, clothing, structures, and other aspects specific to the liturgies. Through the format of this book, it is easy for one (especially one who is not at all familiar with the history of the liturgy or Catholic Church) to follow it through the centruries. This is a good starting point for those that want to learn about the geographical setting, the major religious figures, and the evolution of the liturgy. For others, this book will allow one to look more deeply at the role and evolution of specific liturgical practices through the descriptive details and numerous pictures--including maps, architectural layouts, and music from each century. This is a great book for all!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Casad on May 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Foley walks you through the history of Christian liturgy in several different ages, from the beginnings of Christian worship, to the height of Gothic Christianity, to the practices of today. Beginning each era with a dramatization/story from the perspective of the worshiper, Foley makes clear the point of Christian liturgy - to personally engage the worshiper in the liturgy. Each era also includes a discussion or art, architecture and music. While the book is scholarly in nature, it is certainly not only for academics and can be approached by all.
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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jeri VINE VOICE on March 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
First, this is an interesting book on an interesting subject--how the Eucharist was celebrated throughout history. It's easy to read and with tons of illustrations. The pictures alone make this book worthwhile to anyone interested in history.

That said, I was surprised by the lack of discussion on the Eucharist itself and how it was regarded in the church. Apparently the author was more interested in a discussion of the vessels, the music, and the architecture.

In the chapter on the first century, the author can only say, "In this time, it is not the things--not even the bread and wine--that are important, but the community. The believers more than any single food are the body of Christ" (p 21).

Yet Paul said that those who ate the Eucharist unworthily brought death upon themselves. And here is 1 Cor "the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Malek on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book surveys the rich history of the Western Christian worship for the last two thousand years, concentrating on the Eucharist. Here, I suggest two additions/changes.
I think there is a missing area in this book that needs to be covered, that is the Eastern Christians' celebration of Eucharist. If Christian Eucharist in the East needs a separate volume, I suggest changing the title of the book to: "From Age to Age: How Western Christians have Celebrated the Eucharist." It is true that the first chapter traces early Christian worship in Palestine and other parts of the East; however, immediately after that period of time, the concentration of the book is on Western Christianity.
While the author is a professor at a Catholic seminary, he covered the "Reform and Counter-Reform" (Chapter six) in an excellent way. I was hoping for the author to also include how the Eastern Church, both Orthodox and Protestant, developed this area in all the aspects that was handled in the book, i.e., architecture, music, books, vessels and Eucharistic theology. For example, on the one hand, the architecture of the Coptic churches seems to be different from those of the churches in the West. On the other, there are some similarities among them. In addition, the architecture, music and books of the protestant churches in the East took a completely different route from those in the West in their development. (Gawdat Gabra and Gertrud J.M. van Loon, "The Churches of Egypt," is an excellent book in this area, which shows the architecture of both the Orthodox and Protestant churches in Egypt). However, in these Eastern protestant churches, vessels and Eucharistic theology continued to be the same as their Western sister churches.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Foley did this new edition following the original by 16 years to "enhance the scope and content of the book so that it might be more useful as a textbook [in religious studies], even at the graduate level." Thus, this revision has more technical terms and words in languages other than English. This tilt of the content is modest, however, and does not stray much from the author's "original write an accessible book for lay people that would introduce them to something of the richness of our eucharistic history." The non-English words, for example, are explained and translated upon their first appearance in the text.

This major study of eucharistic history may now be even of more interest to lay persons as well as students with the considerable expansion of the illustrations and quotations. Many of the quotes, often fairly lengthy, are run in the wide outer margins; they alone offer a sketch of eucharistic history. And the varied illustrations are so plentiful that the work could be described as an "illustrated history."

The sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, has been a fundamental part of Christianity since its inception. The Last Supper where the twelve apostles shared bread and wine with Jesus before his crucifixion is seen as the origins of the Eucharist. As one of the holiest, meaningful, and venerated parts of Catholicism and some Christian sects, the Eucharist hasn't changed that much since its origin. Devout participants believe, as they always have, they are engaging in communion with Christ by having tokens of bread and wine consecrated by a priest in a mass. For the most, the history of the Eucharist is not a history of ideas or theories or controversies about it, but rather a history of material culture surrounding it.
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