This book examines critically the sources for Christian liturgical practices in the first three centuries and discusses how thse practices should be interpreted in order to avoid projecting modern concerns on to ancient times. Paul F. Bradshaw explores the variety of practices in the early Church and looks at the emergence of the classical shape of Christian liturgy as various traditions were brought together in the fourth century.This new edition of the classic work has been rewritten to incorporate the fruits of the latest research and up-to-date bibliographical material. New chapters have been added on ministry and ordination, and on the effects of the coming of Christendom in the fourth century.
This is a substantially expanded and completely revised verision of Bradshaw's classic account, first published in 1993. Traditional liturgical scholarship has generally been marked by an attempt to fit together the various pieces of evidence for the practice of early Christian worship in such a way as to suggest that a single, coherent line of evolution can be traced from the apostolic age to the fourth century. Bradshaw examines this methodology in the light of recent developments in Jewish liturgical scholarship, of current trends in New Testament studies, and of the nature of the source-documents themselves, and especially the ancient church orders. In its place he offers a guide to Christian liturgical origins which adopts a much more cautious approach, recognizing the limitations of what can truly be known, and takes seriously the clues pointing to the essentially variegated character of ancient Christian worship.
Praise for the first edition
: "An indispensable instrument for liturgical teaching and research."--Worship
"Splendid--first rate!"--Edward Foley, Catholic Theological Union
"Thank you for this wonderfully informative book. It is so well done and fills such a current need."--Lynn McMillon, Oklahoma State University