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on July 11, 2013
Massachusetts Episcopal churchman Huntington compiled _A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer_ (BCP) from various lectures presented and papers published over a number of years. It certainly has a lot of history in it, but it is more than that, because it also presents his own opinions about revisions made to the during the process of its several revisions over the centuries. This is clearly a book of the nineteenth century--he still used the old term "divines" for ordained clergy of the established and dissenting churches--but his writing doesn't come across as antiquarian as some of this contemporaries' did even after 1900. He was generally careful to delineate and separate the historical record, historical scholarship, and his own opinion one from the other. To great literacy about a very serious topic he wed a sense of humor that I enjoyed, at least.

This is clearly a book for people like me who love church history as well as literary history; you don't have to love or respect the BCP--which I do--but it certainly helps. The title does not indicate what I think is very important to whether someone would be interested in reading this book. After the first part of it, which covers the origins and subsequent history of the BCP it focuses upon the American prayer book, that is, that of the Episcopal Church of the United States. It does a good job for the general reader of explaining why and how the first revision of the BCP was made for the newly independent country, and some of the factors relating to the revision under consideration in those early days of independence.

Huntington was very much involved in efforts to revise the prayer book in his own day, and many other of the most important issues facing the Episcopal church during his life. No "ivory-tower" academic or churchman, even in this short and specialized work his humanity and his groundedness comes through in his recognition that the church and its prayer book had to change as life changed around them due to industrialization, urbanization, and more. This book is surely not for everyone, given its topic and its dated style. But if you're a church geek like me, and especially if like so many others today across Christian denominations you've discovered and embraced made a part of your life the spiritual treasury that is the _Book of Common Prayer_, this book is for you.
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on July 4, 2016
I wanted a history of the Book of Common Prayer, because I really did not know the details. I have used the Book of Common Prayer for a few years, because I learned that it is a good resource for worship planning. Its history inspires even greater respect for the quality and purpose of the Book. I recommend this book, even though I found it a bit hard to read--more a matter of style than of the quality of the information. If you really want to know how the book came to be, and what its significance is for church history, this is a great resource.
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on April 15, 2018
I thought it would be interesting to read this book for comparison to what I've already read in class. It was informative but from an earlier time than I thought and it covered what was going on leading up to the 1892 revision. I'm still glad to have read it for the history and the thought processes involved during that period of time.
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on June 4, 2011
If this is the "short" version, the extended history would be overwhelming. This is a rather comprehensive of the theological debate that existed as the Book of Common Prayer has survived the centuries. An understanding of the background of the BCP makes one marvel at the accomplishments as well as to discover that it truly is a miracle that we even have a Prayer Book.

An excellent read for those who want to truly understand the Book of Common Prayer.
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on February 16, 2015
This worthy text by presenting the case for the 1st true revision of the American Prayer Book illuminates both the book that came to be in 1892, and the ones that followed. ONe can find newer collects that by now are as treasured as the ones from 1789 and before. Many of the proposed changes happened in ,28 and 79. Now that that is work and study that lasts. Recommended only for those immersed in The Prayer Book.
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on January 5, 2018
Not exactly bedtime reading, but extremely interesting history. Demonstrates how far current liberals have deviated from traditional church
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on August 14, 2015
Well written, clear, and concise. It's an enjoyable read that provides excellent explanations.
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on April 24, 2013
Rather 19th century in style and vocaulary, this does offer insight into the construction of the CoE and PECUSA editions. It does not replace Marion Hatchett's "Commentary on the American Prayer Book" for depth of traditional background, but is a useful adjunct to such study.
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on February 4, 2014
- even for lifelong Episcopalians and Anglicans - and fascinating for those in denominations whose traditions stem from that great work.
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on September 30, 2013
The Book of Common Prayer is an essential tool for the practicing Anglican/Episcopalian. We've all seen it sitting in the pew in front of us each Sunday, now we can know the history behind it. 5 star rating for the book, and 5 star for the price!
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