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The Mass of the Early Christians 2nd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592763207
ISBN-10: 1592763200
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Editorial Reviews

Review

All Christians from liturgical traditions can read this book with profit and find comfort in the firm historical basis of their own worship. Those who have shunned liturgical worship might after reading this book reconsider their position and wonder what they have been missing. --Christian Book Review

"The Mass we know on Sunday -- the Mass you encounter in this book --- is where Tradition lives, where the Church's memory reigns 'in the Spirit." Read this book, then, and remember." --Scott Hahn, Professor of Scripture and Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

About the Author

Vice-president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Mike Aquilina
has authored or edited more than a dozen books on Catholic history, doctrine, and devotion,
including the best-selling What Catholics Believe.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor; 2nd edition (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592763200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592763207
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Labarum VINE VOICE on July 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Among the most important developments for the Church in the last decade has been the rediscovery of the liturgical forms of the ancient Christianity. While much of the worship of Protestant Evangelicalism has become increasingly trite by appropriating the ethos of the popular culture, there has been a counter movement to find a more authentic worship by studying patterns of the early Church. This examination has been an enlightening experience to many thoughtful Evangelicals as they came to realize their own worship styles were of fairly recent vintage. Even more shocking, the worship of the early Church was liturgical in form, Catholic in outlook, and centered upon the Eucharist. As a result, many have either left the Evangelical movement for the historic Churches or sounded a call to return to more traditional patterns of worship within their own traditions.
The final piece of the puzzle is for those in the liturgical Churches to realize the treasures in their own midst and correct abuses that have detrimentally affected their own worship traditions. For those in the Roman Catholic Church who are unfamiliar with the history of early Christian worship, there may be no better starting point than The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina. Written for a general audience, Aquilina manages to tie together liturgical styles from disparate sources of the early Church as they reflected on the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Although the book is primarily aimed at Roman Catholics, all Christians from liturgical traditions can read this book with profit and find comfort in the firm historical basis of their own worship. Those who have shunned liturgical worship might after reading this book reconsider their position and wonder what they have been missing.
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Format: Paperback
There are those who would have us believe that the Mass as we have it today, is not what the early Christians, an certainly not what Jesus had in mind. Protestant Evangelical Christians may even go so far as to make you believe that the Mass is some form of pagan worship at best, and that it is not Christian in the least. Mike Aquilina here does us a great favor. In a very well documented book, he takes us through the writings of many of the early Church fathers (the first theologians in the first generations after Christ, who knew the apostles, and thus got their teachings straight from the best sources), and he shows us how the Mass came to be. He also shows us how things have really not changed too much over two millenia, in fact some of the very prayers we use at Mass today, were penned in the 2nd century or earlier. For those of you, especially Catholics who have held seeds of doubt as to the validity of the Mass, who have wondered as to whether the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Christ, this book helps to show that those teachings aren't some new fangled invention of later generations, they are rather what Christ taught, and what his body, the Church, has taught since then. The reading can be a little dry at times, but I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the first books I read on Catholicism. I wanted to understand what the Mass was, and how it was developed. Of course the easy answer was that: it is Biblical. This book digs real deep into not just the Bible, but heavily into the early Christian writings of the Early Church Fathers (ECF's) as well as early Christian documents such as the Didache and the Didascalia. It goes over some very interesting tidbits as well as the heavy stuff. Some items which I have flagged on the side of my book include:

1. Origin of the term "Eucharist"
2. The Word and Eucharistic "rites" were separate
3. Eucharist was practiced at home
4. Bethlehem is "House of bread"
5. Unworthiness to receive
6. The Didache
7. St. Ignatius coined term "Catholic"
8. St. Justin Martyr was 1st Apologist
9. Hypocrisy
10. Charlatan
11. Hyppolytus "The Lord is With You"
12. The testimony of 14 ECF's
13. The testimony of Non-Christians

It proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the early Church was essentially "Catholic" in worship, practice, theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if some folks were converted by this book!
Great book! Very informative!

-Laurence
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Format: Paperback
In reading this book I found that the Mass celebrated by the early Church Fathers is very much like the Mass that we celebrate today. This book relies heavily on the actual words of the early Christians themselves (heretic and believer alike!). Fortunately, it is edited and ordered in such a way that my 21st century ears could understand their 1st century words. I highly recommend this book, along with Aquilina's "The Fathers of the Church" to anyone who wants to learn more about the Early Church but is afraid that the reading would be too lofty. I also think that this would be a good book to hand a teenager who is interested in learning more about the Catholic Church or to non-Catholics who would like to know how the liturgy of the Catholic Mass came to be. It may also help them understand our belief in the Real Presence.
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