Hefling (systematic theology, Boston Coll.) and Shattuck (vice president &
editorial director, Church Pub.) have compiled essays on the origin and
evolution of The Book of Common Prayer. First created in England in 1549, this
prayer book was eventually taken to the far reaches of the British Empire.
Today, Anglicans use a "family of prayer books" based on the original text.
Written by a diversity of experts, the essays cover indigenous prayer books in
Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and other areas and discuss how
diverse and sundry cultures have impacted their content. For example, prayer
books in Africa have incorporated African mourning rituals into their funeral
rites, and Myanmar prayer books include Buddhist ideas in communion services.
The essays even address electronic or "e-prayer books" for the 21st century.
Although dozens of worldwide editions are in circulation, the same central
texts are used (e.g., daily prayers, the Eucharist). The guide is enhanced
with illustrations and sidebars as well as a chronology (1535-2004), a
glossary, a select bibliography, and, of course, an index. Librarians will
have difficulty deciding whether to place this in the circulating or reference
collections-or perhaps both. Recommended for academic and special
libraries.-C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright
2006 Reed Business Information.