The Book of Common Prayer is one of the most influential books in history. Brian Cummings tell its fascinating story, charting its spread from England to reach the world, and showing how the book has divided conformity from non-conformity, in social terms as well as religious, from birth to marriage to death.
- Offers a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating history of the Book of Common Prayer, from medieval to modern times
- Explores the significance of the book on the daily lives of millions of practising Christians, today and throughout history
- Discusses how the book has been used in relation to politics, highlighting its ongoing importance and controversies
- Considers the book in the context of imperial and post-colonial settings
- Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over nine million copies published worldwide
About the Author(s)
Brian Cummings, Anniversary Professor at the University of York
Brian Cummings FBA is Anniversary Professor at the University of York in the Department of English and Related Literature. He was previously Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Professor of English at the University of Sussex, and has also held Visiting Fellowships in California, in Munich, and Toronto. In addition to his academic work he was guest curator at Lambeth Palace for the exhibition Royal Devotion: Monarchy & the Book of Common Prayer in 2012, which was opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prince of Wales. His
books include The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace (2007); and an edition of The Book of Common Prayer, which appeared in Oxford World's Classics in 2013. With Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge) he is leading the three-year research project "Remembering the Reformation", funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2016 to 2019.
"Cummings' work is a great gateway for anyone looking to start their adventure in the historical studies of The Book of Common Prayer." - Isaac Brown, Riverview, New Brunswick, Religious Studies Review
"Insightful" - Mary Laven, Times Literary Supplement
"[Brian Cummings's] text is challenging, informative, and even swashbuckling, by turns ... His book is a must for all, but, take it slowly and savour it: a huge amount is packed into these 120 pages." - Stephen Platten, Church Times
"The Book of Common Prayer: A Very Short Introduction is an excellent summary of the origins of The Book of Common Prayer and its impact on history, from the Tudors to the present. Cummings's accessible prose makes for an enjoyable read that is not overburdened with technical or theological jargon." - Tanner J. Moore, Reading Religion
"One of the foremost British scholars of Renaissance and Reformation literature, Brian Cummings has given us a vivid and multi-dimensional portrait of how one of the most influential books in the English language was constructed, reconstructed, and disseminated across several centuries, helping us see just how it played the role it did in shaping a common imagination as well as a common spirituality." - Rowan Williams, Master, Magdalene College, Cambridge