Worship Through the Age of the Church,
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This review is from: The Oxford History of Christian Worship (Hardcover)
From its very beginning, the Church has always worshipped. Building on its Jewish roots and through its meditation on the mysteries of the Christian faith, the worship of the Church developed rich liturgical traditions in different locales that even through the variations of custom maintained a core similarity built upon the legacy of the Apostles. The Protestant Reformation gave impetus to removing perceived excesses (in the case of the magisterial Reformers) and complete overhauls (in the case of the radical Reformers) and this led to an even greater amount of variation to the basic pattern of worship to the point now where local churches in the same offer a bewildering menu of worship styles.
Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker have brought together contributions from various authors to outline the liturgical diversity of the Church in The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Beginning with the earliest days of the Church, the articles details the rich history of Christian worship over two millennia followed bv additional articles covering a specific facet of worship (i.e., the role of women, the use of art) rather than a particular tradition or period. Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern traditions are all covered and, umlike many more academic surveys of Christian worship, recent free church developments such as the growing acceptance of Christianity in Asia and Africa are included.
The quality of the articles is very high and they are generally self-contained and need not be read in order. Both the early articles on liturgical history and the later one bringing together much of the fruit of the scholarship of the liturgical movement are written in a form suitable for scholar and educated layman alike. As a reference source for understanding the diverse traditions of Christian worship, The Oxford History of Christian Worship is indispensible.