Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University and former professor of English at Wheaton College, wrote a sweeping (yet not dense), elegant “biography” of the Book of Common Prayer. It is part of Princeton University Press’s “Lives of Great Religious Books” series and is one of my favorite recent reads. In an interview published by Christianity Today, Jacobs explains why the Anglican prayerbook has had such an impact. The whole interview– not too long to read in a few minutes– is well worth and read and can be found HERE.
Some of my favorite bits are excerpted below:
What makes the Book of Common Prayer a distinctively evangelical form of worship?
Well, I’m not sure it is, at least in its liturgies. Cranmer strove to maintain as much continuity with traditional forms of worship as he could, given his commitments to the Reformation. So in the liturgies themselves there is little that a medieval Catholic Christian could find fault with—except that they are in English…