07 April 2012
Liturgical History, Grumpiness ...
I'm sure that Philip Goddard won't mind my recommending his book as a "must read" for anybody with any interest at all in the development of the structure of the week, even if a recommendation from The Muniment Room isn't exactly the last step before ordering a pipe of the Cockburn '24. The scholarship feels very sound indeed, and there are odd flashes of insight, for example into the relationship between the readings on the Ember Saturday in Lent and the modelled-on-the-synagogue pattern of readings in first century Christian services that took my breath away.
The awfulness that comes over the reader has nothing to do with the book itself, but with what starts as a casual throwaway line, and becomes a sort of macabre colophon to many sections of the book: "its form was fixed by the end of the seventh century and remained unchanged until 1970" - a paraphrase of something repeated again and again.
I can understand the motivation of the litugical archaeologist, even if I think it is a self-evidently wrong approach to liturgiology; but what was it about the Reformers of the 50s and 60s that led them to such hatred of tradition - tradition in the sense of "doing things the way we always do them". How did these people cope with family Christmasses (for example)? Did they suddenly insist that from 1970 on there could be no turkey or goose, as these were late interpolations, but that everybody should eat salted pork? That the TV couldn't be watched as it hadn't been invented in the first century and that families should play "Hunt the Myrrh" or (a rather different version of ) "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"? I could go on ...
It is still quite easy to come across pre-1955 hand Missals for a reasonable price (less than £40 - compare the price of a decent 1962 Missal): do think about buying one and using it as a guide to how we might have been celebrating festivals like Passiontide and Easter if the practice of organic development hadn't been allowed to give way to the slash and burn we endured at the end of the 1960s.
A very Happy and Holy Easter from a grumpier than usual Eeyore.
Posted by Ttony at 18:20