Patricia Klein has put together an immensely useful handbook for all elements of Christian worship. Using drawings, definitions, and brief historical explanations, she maps out the large landscape of liturgy with clarity and brevity. Chapter 1, for example, moves from the most obvious starting point (the church building itself, including explanations of the terms cathedral, basilica, and oratory) through monastic architecture, the interior and exterior spaces (buttress, cloister, apse, chancel) and then into church furnishings (ambo--"a raised desk from which the Gospels or Epistles were read or chanted") and liturgical furnishings (processional cross, alms basin). Subsequent chapters explore the altar, the cross, the liturgical year, liturgical worship, music, sacraments, vestments, as well as church dogma (the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed). A delightful book for browsing and reference, it can get positively addictive for anyone with an interest in the outer forms of the inner faith. --Doug Thorpe
The Christian church has amassed a dauntingly large vocabulary over the millennia. Or should one say vocabularies? Klein's classified dictionary of church terminology contains many pictures of physical artifacts, from church floor plans to symbols of the faith, as well as words. Thus, it defines both verbal and visual signs; hence, vocabularies.
The emphasis is on signs that originate in Roman Catholicism, which, after all, predates Orthodoxy and Protestantism. Each of 12 chapters deals with a different set of terms. The first, "Sacred Places, Sacred Spaces," contains architectural and furnishing terms. Subsequent chapters focus on physical features (the altar, vestments), public and private worship, the sacraments, church offices, the liturgical year, and the words of belief. Each chapter is appropriately subdivided, with the index providing a complete alphabet of defined terms. Interestingly, Klein has low-church roots but believes knowing the names of the old ways removes practical barriers between varying Christians and enables them "to lose [themselves] in the Presence of God"--that is, to truly worship. Consider reference as well as circulating copies. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved