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Re: [liturgy-l] Gospel Book

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  • cfortunato58@aol.com
    In my old church, we had a big, beautiful ornate Gospel book which we carried in procession. Unfortunately, it was KJV and were using NRSV and we couldn t
    Message 1 of 48 , May 4, 2009
      In my old church, we had a big, beautiful ornate Gospel book which we carried in procession. Unfortunately, it was KJV and were using NRSV and we couldn't afford another one. So they carried it procession, but it was a dummy - they had a page cut out of the leaflet paperclipped inside that they would actually read from. I thought it looked appallingly silly, and they would have been better off getting a large, inexpensive, respectable looking NRSV without the big metal cover.
      -----Original Message-----

      From: Frank Senn <fcsenn@...>
      Subj: Re: [liturgy-l] Gospel Book
      Date: Sun May 3, 2009 7:59 pm
      Size: 7K
      To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com

      My church uses a large (very large, very heavy) pulpit Bible (includes apocrypha) and on most Sundays all the readings are read from the pulpit Bible.  But from time to time I have had a gospel procession (you know the drill -- assisting minister or deacon to read the gospel, book bearer, torch bearers, maybe even a thurifer).  The big Bible cannot be carried in procession.  Even a good-size lectionary can be too big to carry.  I have had to use a more ordinary-size lectionary.  There is no doubt that a gospel book works better in processions and, if it has a nice attractive cover (say, with the symbols of the four evangelists on it), it gives the Word a good visual appearance.

      In our tradition the preacher reads the gospel rather than the deacon.  But there is no intrinsic reason why a lay assisting minister cannot read the gospel.

      Frank C. Senn

      --- On Sun, 5/3/09, Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...> wrote:
      From: Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...>
      Subject: Re: [liturgy-l] Gospel Book
      To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, "Jessica Rowley" <jessica.rowley@...>, "Gregory Warnusz" <gwarnusz@...>, "Hickman, Bp. Peter" <frpeter@...>
      Date: Sunday, May 3, 2009, 6:31 PM

      Let us back up one step and ask, "Why would one want a book of the

      gospels in the first place?"

      Although there is ample historic precedent for use of a book of gospels

      for liturgy, wasn't it uncommon in the West for several centuries before

      the 1980s?

      Indeed, the convenience of a missal, as mentioned by others, was

      universal for RCs until their books were revised following Vatican II

      and the Sacramentary and Lectionary were again separated.

      It is my OPINION that:

      1. Given that in the age of printing there is no significant cost

      difference between having a large print bible for the lectern/ambo or

      having a lectionary or a book of gospels, a bible is a more appropriate

      object for presentation and receiving honor than a lectionary. Let us

      have one book, one Word of God.

      2. That the addition of the Book of Gospels can be attributed [unproven

      and perhaps unprovable] to two desires

      A. The restored permanent diaconate created a class of clergy who

      desired a more visible role in the liturgy and nurtured the historic

      precedent, and

      B. Church goods providers saw that indulging the desires of the

      deacons created the opportunity to sell yet another object to churches.

      Having gone from one to two, why not have three ritual books? In

      addition there was precedent for these books to be more expensive,

      highly decorative rather than merely handsome and sturdy, thus more

      profitable per volume.

      I remember no widespread discussion [at the time of transition to using

      separate gospel books] of what this added to the liturgy to the benefit

      of the laity. All the material I remember reading was explanatory of

      the precedent for doing this rather than explanatory of the benefits.

      The historic origins and logic from the days of expensive manuscripts

      and hand bound codices were explained.

      How does it serve the congregation to have a book of the gospels rather

      than a lectionary and especially rather than have our readings come from

      the complete Word of God, clearly seen as one divine gift of revelation,

      a unity despite its contradictions and developments? What is the

      implied message in dividing up the bible for worship? What good does

      it do the assembly?

      I know that deacons have mightily argued their right to do this, but

      clerical rights and privileges seem less important to me than

      ministering to the needs of the assembly, making the liturgy more

      accessible to us rather than adding things which require explanation

      because they are imported from another historical setting, another

      material culture. Books and printing are not rarities today. They are

      not precious objects which inspire awe and are particularly appropriate

      for embellishment or needless multiplication.

      I can think of two preferable alternatives for Scripture proclamation in

      Christian worship.

      I. A complete, large type face bible with the various lectionary

      pericopes either marked in the margin by lectionary numbering or in the

      text with a distinct typeface, or

      II. A set of the books of the bible, each bound separately, kept in a

      visible and honored place, each formally taken to the lectern/ambo as

      needed. [Perhaps there could be other subsets such as gospels, epistles,

      law, prophets, histories or otherwise.]

      How is the use of a book of the gospels [and the unexplained and rather

      hidden removal of the lectionary] more of an honor to the gospel than an

      elaboration of the role of the deacon? Notice how for RCs, this has

      developed into a reduction of the role of the laity in carrying the Word

      of God in procession.

      Indeed, going further, what is the point [for ministering to the

      assembly] of restricting the reading [distinguished from preaching] of

      the gospel to the ordained? Is this RC practice enforced in other


      It's all food for thought anyway. I ask those who disagree to make

      positive statements about what they value rather than just condemning me

      for daring to think about these things in this public way.


      Tom Poelker

      St. Louis. Missouri


      /-- Do all the easy nice things you can.

      It?s nice to see people smile,

      and it?s good practice. --/


      Ron Miller wrote:



      > One option would be to buy that Gospel and Acts volume of the St. John's

      > Bible and have clear calligraphy, illuminations, and a volume of

      > distinction, as well as helping to pay for that magnificent project. The

      > traveling exhibit is at Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery until the end of

      > May and is a delight-full show.

      > http://thewalters. org/exhibits/ saint-johns- bible/index. html

      > <http://thewalters. org/exhibits/ saint-johns- bible/index. html>

      > It's NRSV, although there is a separate liturgical evangelary which has

      > the currently authorized translation for reading at Mass and which is

      > much more expensive


      > Fr. Steve Benner wrote:

      > > I was wondering if anyone knew of a nicely bound edition of the Four

      > Gospels

      > > in NRSV, in their entirety (i.e. not in pericopes). It would be much

      > more

      > > useful, especially if one does weekday liturgies. Steve Benner+

      > >

      > >


      > --

      > Ron Miller (The Rev. Ronald H.) Baltimore, MD

      > Every individual will receive from God the amount of indulgence he has

      > himself given to his neighbor.

      > Augustine, quoted by Defensor Grammaticus



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    • Michael Thannisch
      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
      Message 48 of 48 , May 4, 2009
        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
        To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
        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
        > 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?

        > 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
        > Shape:
        > * 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
        ordinary days.

        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
        in sequence.

        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!

        John burnett.


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