Re: [liturgy-l] lectionaries, was Re: Gospel Book
- Can someone give me a quick overview of the evolution of liturgical
scripture? I always understood that complete bibles like the Codex
Sinaiticus were never liturgical books but reference books for scholars.
Clearly, the books of the New Testament circulated as separate
scrolls/codices in pre-Constantinian time, but how were they collected and
handled in public worship in the basilicas? And what is the early and
modern liturgical arrangement of scrolls for Jewish worship?
Director of Music
St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
On 5/4/09 10:40 AM, "Chris McConnell" <cdmcconnell@...> wrote:
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...> wrote:
>> I'd say that the reasons given are very devotional and follow a
>> particular logic.
> ISTM all of the reasons given by everyone follow particular logics, but I'm
> not seeing anything devotional in any of it.
>> I'm asking if that is the best possible logic to follow.
>> I can claim that a single lectionary is most "practical" in terms of
>> efficiency and not shuffling things around or multiplying ceremonies
> I would claim that practical efficiency is generally a very weak rationale for
> anything in liturgy, despite its near-dominance in the determinations of
> liturgy committees.
>> The Lectionary is basically a collection of assigned scripture citations
>> and their assigned incipits. Can these not be integrated into a
>> complete Bible with or without the sense line arrangements? Is a
>> complete Bible a better liturgical sign than a lectionary or than
>> separating the gospels from their Scriptural context?
> Of course they can be integrated as marginal notations in a complete bible.
> As I'm sure you're aware, that's exactly what lectionaries were, at one point.
> I suspect the evolution of our kind of lectionary resulted from the same sort
> of desire for practical efficiency you mention above. I'd guess the
> conversation went along the lines of "Hey, for this bible we're using at Mass,
> why don't we just copy the parts we actually read, instead of the time and
> expense of the whole thing? And if we arrange them in the order they're read,
> it'll save us from the rather inefficient and inedifying page-turning we have
> to do during the liturgy, not to mention the hassle of flipping through the
> margins or consulting the pericope lists in the sacristy, to find the readings
> in the first place. And there's no need for me to have the gospels in my
> book, or for Deacon So-and-so to have the other readings in his, which only
> adds to the inefficiency." :)
> As for the question of what would be a "better liturgical sign," that question
> usually can't be answered without serious consideration of what makes a
> liturgical sign "better." Right now, in this thread, I'm not touching that
> one with a ten-foot-pole. :)
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- This is rather the Jewish practice today. Regular readings for each Sunday from the Torah. Special readings in addition for special days.
Shalom b'Yeshua haMoshiach +Michael Joe Thannisch
mjthannisch@... Pastor, Congregation Benim Avraham http://www.freewebs.com/childrenofabraham/ http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Joe-Thannisch/1173094868 204 Sylvan St. La Porte, TX 77571 281-867-9081
--- On Mon, 5/4/09, asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...> wrote:
From: asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...>
Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] lectionaries, was Re: Gospel Book
Date: Monday, May 4, 2009, 8:21 PM
> Posted by: "Douglas Cowling" cowling.douglas@...
> Date: Mon May 4, 2009 7:58 am ((PDT))
> Can someone give me a quick overview of the evolution of liturgical
> scripture? I always understood that complete bibles like the Codex
> Sinaiticus were never liturgical books but reference books for
> Clearly, the books of the New Testament circulated as separate
> scrolls/codices in pre-Constantinian time, but how were they
> collected and
> handled in public worship in the basilicas? And what is the early and
> modern liturgical arrangement of scrolls for Jewish worship?
> Posted by: "James O'Regan" oregan@...
> Date: Mon May 4, 2009 9:56 am ((PDT))
> From Bonneau's book, The Sunday Lectionary, Ritual Word, Paschal
> * Justin (150c) - mentions the memoirs of the apostles and of the
> prophets being read at liturgy
> * Until there was a liturgical year, no need for lectionaries;
> following Jewish practice, feasts interrupted continuous reading.
> * 2nd century emergence of annual feast of Easter
> * 3rd century evidence of select readings for easter
> * evidence of prescribed reading dates from 4th century (after Edict),
> with no normative shape
> * late as 5th century, one read from a bible, with incipits and
> explicits in the margins, leading to capitulare (tables of readings
> written in the front)
> * 6th century and on comites appear with assigned readings to
> "accompany" the presider
> * 7th century and on, some comites were evangelaries, containing only
> the gospel readings, others were epistolaries.
> * Middle ages as vernacular disappeared and Latin remained, missal was
> the only book required, so scripture was inserted there by end of
> middle ages.
In the byzantine rite, the arrangement of readings for the year was
not organized all at once, nor do all of its parts have the same
The readings for Sundays and Easter Week are the oldest, they follow a
lectio continua. I think this goes back to jerusalem, at least to the
4th century, but i could be mistaken about that.
Then a special cycle of readings for Saturdays (Sabbaths) developed,
again with lectio continua.
Later on, in monasteries where the Liturgy was celebrated every day,
the monks arranged the rest of the New Testament passages for the
So now there’s a Sunday order, each passage coming after that of the
previous Sunday; a Saturday order, which works the same; and there’s
one for ordinary weekdays (“ferial” days, from Latin feria,
‘weekday’): three different orders of readings— and all of them are
based on reading the New Testament from beginning to end, more or less
For that reason, i don't think you can that Sinaiticus etc were
"reference books" because they were simply continuous texts. I
what makes them "reference books" (if they were that) is the fact
they are complete bibles. Lectionaries were divided up as gospel
books, apostolic books, and OT.
I do think it's a bit of a mis-statement to say that "Until there was
a liturgical year, no need for lectionaries; following Jewish
practice, feasts interrupted continuous reading." The canon of the
Bible *IS* a lectionary, and remains so in the east. I don't know how
it currently works in the west, but you're right--- for us, it was and
still is always lectio continua occasionally interrupted by other
readings for feast days. And in fact, for most feast days, the lectio
continua is not actually interrupted, but *additional* readings of
epistle, gospel, and OT are appointed for the feast as well, and in
common usage these are preferred and the regular reading is not taken.
But it can even happen that three epistles and three gospels are
appointed for a single liturgy.
> Posted by: "Douglas Cowling" cowling.douglas@...
> Date: Mon May 4, 2009 12:26 pm ((PDT))
>> On 5/4/09 2:10 PM, "asteresplanetai"
>> <asteresplanetai@...> wrote:
>> It does not contain the Book of
>> Revelation, which is generally not read in church, except (fittingly)
>> as one of the readings deep in the night at monastic nocturnes during
>> part of the year.
> Tell us more please!
There's not much to tell. Revelation is read at the Midnight Office in
a monastery if they don't happen to abbreviate by skipping the
reading. Normally the slot is occupied by patristic material. I forget
which time of year, because i've never seen it done, but it is done,
and so it's not *quite* true that (as one often hears) it is
read in in an orthodox church. It is, deep at night, by monks keeping
Christ is risen!
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