Continuity and Change in Christian Worship: Papers Read at the 1997 Summer Meeting and the 1998 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society

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Worship is at the heart of the Christian tradition, its history marked by both continuity and change, by stability and upheaval. Its centrality to Christian experience, particularly as codified in liturgy, makes it a focal point of conflict: it can be manipulated to recreate the past, or to establish new forms supposedly more in tune with contemporary needs and perceptions. Liturgical traditions contribute to an individual Christian's identity, particularly since the sixteenth century and the proliferation of denominations with their own forms of worship. This collection addresses aspects of the many issues raised by the evolution of worship in Christian history, from the first to the twentieth century and moving from Christianity's ancient heartlands to the missionary stations of Uganda and Rwanda. While texts and actions are central to liturgical practice, and are considered in detail, these essays show the need to set worship in context, and to appreciate historical and contemporary forces working within the Church to support continuity and to stimulate change. Dr R. N. SWANSONteaches in the Department of Medieval History at the University of Birmingham.