Sep 23, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development IV

Meal Berakoth 1

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who givest us this fruit of the vine. 2

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth. 3

L.: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R.: Blessed be he whose generosity has given us food and whose kindness has given us life. 4

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who feedest the world with goodness, with grace and mercy, who givest food to all flesh for thou nourishest and sustainest all beings and providest food for all thy creatures. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who givest food to all.

We thank thee, JHWH, our God, for a desirable, good and ample land which thou was pleased to give to our fathers, and for thy covenant which thou hast marked in our flesh, and for the Torah which thou hast given us, and for life, grace, mercy and food which thou hast lent us in every season. And for all this, JHWH, our God, we thank thee and bless thy name. Blessed be thy name upon us continually and for ever. Blessed be thou, JHWH, for the land and for the food.

Have mercy, JHWH, our God, upon thy people Israel, upon thy city Jerusalem, upon Zion, the abiding place of thy glory, upon the kingdom of the house of David thine annointed, and upon the great and holy house that was called by thy name. Feed us, nourish us, sustain us, provide for us, relieve us speedily from our anxieties, and let us not stand in need of the gifts of mortals, for their gifts are small and their reproach is great, for we have trusted in thy holy, great and fearful name. And may Elijah and the Messiah, the son of David come in our life-time, and let the kingdom of the house of David return to its place, and reign thou over us, thou alone, and save us for thy name’s sake, and bring us up in it and gladden us in it and comfort us in Zion thy city. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who rebuildest Jerusalem. 5

[SPECIAL FORM: Our God, and the God of our fathers, may the remembrance of ourselves and of our fathers and the remembrance of Jerusalem, thy city, and the remembrance of the Messiah, the son of David, thy servant, and the remembrance of thy people, the whole house of Israel, arise and come, come to pass, be seen and accepted and heard, be remembered and be mentioned before thee for deliverance, for good, for grace, for lovingkindness and for mercy on this such and such a day. Remember us, JHWH, our God, on it for good and visit us on it for blessing and save us on it unto life by a word of salvation and mercy, and spare, favour and show us mercy, for thou art a gracious and merciful God and King.] 6

1 “Neither the Mishnah nor the Tefillah give us a complete test, which is not to be found before the Seder Amram Gaon. But they multiply allusions to the content of the formulas from the earliest times, which act as a guarantee for us of the substantial conformity between the text still in use today and the ancient practice.”(Bouyer 82)

2 “The obligatory prelude of the meal was the ritual hand-washing with which the Jews also began their day. Then, in a ceremonial meal, each person upon arriving drank a first cup of wine, repeating for himself this” text. “This is the first cup mentioned by St. Luke in his account of the Last Supper”. (Bouyer 79)

3 “[The] meal did not officially begin until the father of the family or the presiding member of the community had broken the bread which was given to the participants, with this blessing.” “It was looked upon as a general blessing for the whole meal that was to follow, and no one who arrived later was allowed to partake.” “The courses and cups of wine then followed, and each person in turn pronounced a series of blessings. The Passover meal was distinguished simply by special foods, bitter herbs and the lamb, which were used together with the special corresponding prayers and the dialogued recitation of the haggadah, i.e. a kind of traditional homily on the origin and the ever fresh sense of the feast.” Bouyer thinks that the haggadah becomes central to the placement of the Instituion Narrative within the berakoth. (Bouyer 80, 157)

4 “In every case, however, the essentail ritual act came at the end of the meal.” On holy days celebrated on the eve a lamp was lit, which is the origin of the ancient Christian use of the lucernarium and has survived into our own day in the blessing of the paschal candle. Then incense was blessed and burned. Then a second general hand-washing takes place. The servant would bring an ewer to the master of the house or the one who presided, though when a servant was not available then the youngest at the table would do so. This is the origin of John the Beloved Disciple bringing the ewer to Jesus. Jesus then turns to Peter who is considered the most worthy after himself and washed not only his hands but his feet. “It is after these preliminaries that the presider, with the cup of wine mixed with water before him, solemnly invited those assisting to join in with his act of thanksgiving.” (Bouyer 80-81)

5 Bouyer 82-83.

6 The Seder Amram Gaon prescribes certain variations of the third berakah either for Sabbath or a high holy day. What is most remarkable about this text is the extensive use of the Hebrew word zikkaron (remembrance). This gives a context to the command of Jesus to “do this in remembrance of me”. The term also recalls the Temple sacrifices when we see the connection to the Abodah prayer. The idea of memorial is also prevalent there and this prayer arises from those that originally consecrated the Temple sacrifices. (Bouyer 84-85)

Sep 19, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development III

The Tefillah of the Shemoneh Esreh 1

JHWH, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise!

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob, the great, mighty and revered God, the most high God, who bestowest lovingkindness, possessest all things and remeberest the pious deeds of the fathers, and wilt bring a redeemer to their children’s children for thy name’s sake, in love, King, Helper, Saviour and Shield. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the Shield of Abraham.

Thou art mighty forever, JHWH, thou quickenest the dead, thou art mighty to save, and thou causest the dew to fall (who causest the wind to blow and the rain to fall), who sustainest the living with lovingkindness, quickenest the dead with great mercy, supportest the falling, healest the sick, loosest them that are bound and keepest faith to them that sleep in the dust. Who is like unto thee, Lord of mighty acts, and who resembleth thee, King, who killest and quickenest and causest salvation to spring forth. And faithful art thou to quicken the dead, Blessed be thou, JHWH, who quickenest the dead.

Keter 2:
Unto thee shall the multitudes above with all the gatherings below give a crown, all with one accord shall thrice repeat the holy praise unto thee, according to what is said through the prophet: and one cried unto another and said: Holy, holy, holy is JHWH of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. Then with noise of great rushing, mighty and strong, they make their voices heard, and upraising themselves towards them, they say: blessed, blessed be the glory of JHWH from his place.

From thy place shine forth, our King, and reign over us, for we wait upon thee. When wilt thou reign? Reign in Zion speedily, even in our days and in our lives do thou dwell (there). Mayest thou be magnified and sanctified in the midst of Jerusalem thy city throughout all generations and to all eternity. And let our eyes behold they kingdom, according to the word that was spoken in the songs of thy might by David, thy righteous annointed: JHWH shall reign for ever, thy God, Zion, unto all generations. Hallelujah.

Qedushat ha-Shem:
From generation to generation give homage to God for he alone is high and holy, and thy praise, our God, shall not depart from our mouth for ever, for a great and holy king art thou. Blessed be thou JHWH, thou holy God.

Thou favorest man with knowledge and teachest a human being understanding. Favour us with knowledge, understanding and discernment from thee. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who graciously bestowest knowledge.

Cause us to return, our Father, unto thy Torah, and draw us near, our King, unto thy service, and bring us back in perfect repentance before thee. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who delightest in repentance.

Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed, for thou art good and forgiving. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who art gracious and dost adundantly forgive.

Look upon our affliction and plead our cause, and redeem us speedily for thy Name’s sake; for thou art a mighty Redeemer. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the Redeemer of Israel.

Heal us, JHWH, and we shall be healed; save us and we shall be saved, and grant a perfect healing to all our wounds; for thou, God, art a merciful Physician. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who healest the sick of thy people Israel.

Birkat ha-shanim:
Bless this year unto us, JHWH, our God for (our) welfare (and give dew and rain for blessing upon the face of the earth, and wind on the land, and satisfy the whole world by the goodness and fill our hands from thy blessings and from the riches of the gifts of they hands, and watch and rescue this year from all evil and from all destruction and from all calamity, and make it a hope, and let the end of it be peace. Spare us, and have mercy upon us and upon all the produce of it, and upon all the fruits of it, and bless it like (good) years with blessing of dew, and life, and plenty, and peace). Blessed be thou, JHWH, who blessest the years.

Qibbus galuyoth:
Sound the great horn for our freedom, and lift up the ensign, to gather our exiles, and proclaim liberty to gather us from the four quarters of the earth to our land. blessed be thou, JHWH, who gatherest the dispersed of thy people Israel.

Birkat mishpat:
Restore our judges as at the first, and our counselors as at the beginning, and reign thou alone over us, JHWH, in grace and mercy and righteousness and judgment. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the King who lovest righteousness and judgment.

And for the slanderers let there be no hope, and let all the wicked perish in a moment and let all our enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance do thou speedily uproot and crush and humble in our days. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who breakest the wicked and humblest the arrogant.] 3

Birkat saddiqim:
Towards the righteous and the pious and the true proselytes may thy mercies be stirred, JHWH, our God, and grant a good reward unto all who faithfully trust in thy name and set our portion with them, so that we may never be put to shame. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the stay and trust of the righteous.

Birkat Yerushalem 4:
To Jerusalem, thy city, return in mercy, and dwell in it as thou hast spoken; and rebuild it as an everlasting building in our days. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who rebuildest Jerusalem.

Birkat David:
Speedily cause the offspring of David to flourish, and let his horn be exalted by thy salvation, because we wait for thy salvation all the day. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who causest the horn of salvation to flourish.

Hear our voice, JHWH, have mercy upon us and accept our prayer in mercy and favour; for thou art a God who hearkenest unto our prayers and supplications: from thy presence, our Kind, turn us not empty away, for thou hearkenest to the prayer of every mouth. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who hearkenest unto prayer.

Abodah 5:
Accept, JHWH, our God, thy people Israel and their prayer and restore the service to the Holy of Holies of thy house and receive speedily in love and favour the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer, and may the service of thy people Israel ever be acceptable unto thee, and let our eyes behold thy return to Zion in mercy. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who restorest thy Presence to Zion.

We give thanks unto thee, our God and the God of our fathers; thou art the Rock of our lives, the Shield of our salvation through every generation. We will give thanks unto thee and declare thy praise for our lives which are committed unto thy hand, and for our souls which are in thy charge. Thou art all-good for thy mercies fail not, thou art merciful for thy lovingkindnesses never cease, we have ever hoped in thee. And bring us not to shame, JHWH, our God, abandon us not and hide not thy face from us, and for all thy name be blessed and exalted, our King, for ever and ever. Everything that liveth should thank thee, Selah, and praise thy name, All-good, in truth. Blessed be thou, JHWH, whose name is all-good, and unto whom it is becoming to give thanks.

Birkat kohanim:
Grant peace, welfare, blessing, loving kindness and mercy unto us and unto all Israel, thy people, and bless us, our Father, even all of us together, with the light of thy countenance; for by the light of thy countenance thou hast given us, JHWH, our God, the Torah of life, love and grace, and righteousness and mercy, and may it be good in thy sight to bless thy people Israel in mercy in all times. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who blessest thy people Israel with peace.

1 After the Shemah and the following prayer, which was not transcribed in the last article, the Tefillah of the 18 blessings (Shemoneh Esreh) is recited. The form reproduced here is the Babylonian one from the Seder Amram Gaon. Scholars disagree with whether the Babylonian or Jerusalem recension more closely corresponds to that of the time of Jesus. This dispute is not so important since it is admitted that there were no two Jewish communities of his time that used exactly the same words. Bouyer 70.

2 The Keter is not counted among the eighteen blessings but is counted as a continuation of the Geburoth. There are eighteen total blessings: Aboth, Geburoth, Qedushat ha-Shem, Binah, Teshubah, Selishah, Geullah, Refnah, Birkat ha-shanim, Qibbus galuyoth, Birkat mishpat, Birkat saddiqim, Birkat Yerushalem, Birkat David, Tefillah, Abodah, Hodah, and Birkat kohanim.

3 “It is after [the Birkat mishpat] and prior to [Birkat saddiqim] that the [Birkatha-minim] was introduced as a later addition which brought the number of traditional ‘blessings’ from eighteen up to nineteen. It is the famous prayer against the apostates and slanderers of the people of Israel. These minim are certainly the Christians, especially the Jewish Christians, and all those among the Jewish people who were in league with them or thought to be.”(Bouyer 76)

4 “The Birkat Yerushalem which follows [the Birkat saddiqim] is obviously, since the year 70 of our era, aimed at the rebuilding of Jerusalem which Titus has destroyed. But, as Abrahams points out, the original formulas must have focused not on the rebuilding but on the building of Jerusalem and on her perpetual possession of the divine presence.”(Bouyer, 76)

5 “It is called Abodah, “service” and it is generally admitted that it proceeds directly from the prayer that was recited in the temple of Jerusalem for the daily offering of the holocaust. Later it was revised so that it could be applied to the restoration of the sacrifices interrupted by Titus.”(Bouyer 78)

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development II

Berakoth of the Qedushah 1:
L 2: Bless ye JHWH, who is to be blessed.

R.: Blessed be JHWH, who is to be blessed, for ever and ever.

L: Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, king of the universe, who formest light and createst darkness, who makes peace and createst all things: Who in mercy givest light to the earth and to them that dwell thereon and in his goodness renewest the creation every day continually. How manifold are they works, JHWH. In wisdom hast thou made them all, the earth is full of thy possesions. King who alone wast exalted from aforetime, praised, glorified and exalted from days of old. Everlasting God, in thine abundant mercies have mercy upon us, Lord of our strength, Rock of our stronghold, Shield of our salvation, thou stronghold of ours. The blessed God, great in knowledge, prepared and formed the rays of the sun: it was a boon he produced as a glory to his name. He set the luminaries round about his strength. The chiefs of his hosts are holy beings, they exalt the Almighty, continually declare the glory of God and his holiness. Be thou blessed, JHWH, our God, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Be thou blessed, our Rock, our King and our Redeemer, Creator of holy beings, praised be thy name forever, our King, Creator of ministering spirits, and all his ministering spirits stand in the height of the universe, and with awe proclaim aloud in unison the words of the living God and everlasting King. All of them are beloved, all of them are pure, all of them are mighty, all of them in dread do the will of their master, all of them open their mouths in holiness and purity and praise and glorify and sanctify the name of the great King, the mighty and dreaded One, holy is He. They all take upon themselves the yoke of the kingdom in heaven, one from the other, and give leave one to another to hallow their Creator: in tranquil joy of spirit, with pure speech and with holy melody they all respond in unison in fear, and say with awe ...

R: Holy, holy, holy is JHWH of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

L: And the Ophanim and the holy Chayoth with a noise of great rushing, upraising themselves towards them praise and say:

R: Blessed be the glory of JHWH from his place.

L: To the blessed God they offer pleasant melodies, to the King, the living and ever-enduring God they utter hymns and make their praises heard, for he alone performeth mighty deeds and maketh new things, the Lord of battles, he soweth righteousness, causeth salvation to spring forth, createth remedies, is revered in praises, the Lord of wonders who in his goodness reneweth the creation every day continually, as it is said: (Give thanks) to him that maketh great lights for his grace endureth forever. Blessed be thou, JHWH, Creator of the luminaries.

L: With abounding love hast thou loved us, JHWH, our God, with great and exceeding pity thou hast pitied us, our Father, our King, for the sake of our fathers who trusted in thee, and whom thou didst teach the statutes of life, be gracious also unto us. Our Father, merciful Father, have mercy upon us, and put into our hearts to understand, and to discern, and to hear, and to learn, and to do all the words of instruction in thy Torah in love. And enlighten our eyes in they commandments, and let our hearts cleave to they fear, and unite our hearts to love thy name, soon in love exalt our horn and be thou our king and save us for the sake of thy name, for we have trusted in thee, that we be put not to shame, and we trust in thy name that we be not abashed nor stumble for ever and ever because thou, O God, art our Father, our God, and let not thy mercy abandon us for ever and ever. Let peace come over us from the four corners of the earth and cause us soon to go upright to our land, for thou hast chosen us from all peoples and tongues and hast brought us near unto thy great name in love. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who hast chosen thy people Israel in love.

Shemah 3:
R.:(Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is the Lord alone; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your thought, and him only shall you serve.)

1 Preceding this is the Qaddish prayer which was the original conclusion of the targum. Bouyer quotes only its first part commenting that this is evidentlly the direct source of the first part of the Lord’s prayer, “Magnified and sanctified be his great name, Amen. In the world which he has created according to his will. And may he establish his kingdom during your life and during your days and during the life of all the house of Israel, even speedily and at a near time. Amen.” Bouyer, Louis. Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer. Trans. Charles Quinn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968. 61-64.

2 Sheliach sibbur – the member of the community designated for saying the prayer in the name of all. Today , and since the 6th century, it is always the hazan, mentioned in the Gospels, the “minister” who is the ancestor to the Christian deacon. (Bouyer, 61) N.B. I have used L to stand for the Sheliach sibbur (leader) and R for the community response.

3 Bouyer does not dwell on the Shemah because it disappeared in Christian services, i.e. his concern is not so much with regards to the Jewish prayers but rather in the origin of the Eucharistic prayer that develops from it. Nevertheless, I thought it good to include it here at this juncture if only to show where in the sequence it appears. (Bouyer, 69)

Sep 14, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development I

Some time ago I began studying the Roman Rite with a view to understanding the process which had resulted in the reform of the liturgical books. Primarily, I was concerned over certain accusations leveled against the reform of the liturgical books especially the Roman Missal. As my study has progressed I have been able to evaluate various critiques and found these critiques to have varying degrees of authenticity or reliability. It happens upon occasion that certain works, upon providing facts of evidence and scholarly analysis; convince me to change my opinion of this or that question. Indeed, this has happened several times to me over the course of the study and perhaps it may happen yet again in the future. Lamentably, given that I have published my thoughts and findings for public review, it means that I must from time to time return to read and perhaps revise what I have written previously. I find that I have come upon one of those moments.

For those perhaps who have not studied the history of the Roman Rite, I will give a summary of sorts of the books and authors that have influenced my opinions in these matters. I have remained interested in the subject of liturgy and continue to read with the purpose not so much for knowledge of the liturgy as an end but rather as a means towards understanding and therefore entering more deeply into the liturgical rites. I remain in quiet awe of the scholarship and mental acumen of these liturgical giants without whose works I would know and understand precious little.

My understanding of the development and origin of the Roman Rite is due in main to four authors: Nicholas Gihr 1, Adrian Fortescue 2, Gerhard Rauschen 3 and Fernand Cabrol 4. These were the first works I read on the liturgy and so I think made the most impression upon me. These authors quoted, referenced and even critiqued the arguments of other liturgical luminaries such as: Franz Xaver von Funk, Edmund Bishop, Pierre Battifol, F.E. Brightman, Louis Duchesne, Anton Baumstark, F. Probst, Paul Drews, Rudolf Buchwald, etc. The general theory of development which I had accepted was due in large part to Fortescue’s treatment of the subject together with the synthesis and analysis of Rauschen. Fortescue in his seminal work, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, gives a brief synthesis of important liturgical scholars works on the history of liturgical development. He generally follows Drews in his opinions, not without some critique of his own, however. These views can be found in several articles which Fortescue wrote for the Catholic Encyclopedia 5.

As liturgical documents began to be collected, published and studied the work of comparative liturgy took on a renewed fervor. Exciting new texts and critical editions with scholarly analysis were published. The question of the development of rites came to the forefront because of it. The uniqueness of the Roman liturgy both as a whole and particularly in regards to the Roman Canon caused liturgists to begin asking about the origins of such uniqueness. Early work suggested that the primitive liturgy would likely follow that of the West Syrian liturgies (Antiochian). The foundation for this thesis is eminently reasonable speculation on the basis that the first liturgies would have come from Jerusalem and then into Syria, specifically Antioch. It is well known that Peter established the episcopal see in Antioch before ultimately journeying on to Rome. Thus it was reasonable that the apostolic liturgical rites in Rome and Antioch should be in substantial accord not only as to content but also as to structure or form.

To this end the liturgies found in the Apostolic Traditions and the Apostolic Constitutions were speculated to be reflective of early Christian liturgy. The first of these documents, as I am now convinced by Bouyer, was authored by a Roman of “adoption” who originally came from somewhere in Syria. As Bouyer convincingly argues, the very structure of the liturgy betrays any pretense to being primitive. Rather, it seems that the author holds that the Syrian traditions are the apostolic ones and for that reason has difficulty with the Roman liturgy of his time. Thus liturgists who thought to find the primitive rite of Rome in the Apostolic Traditions were greatly mistaken but no less so than those who thought to identify it with the liturgy found in the Apostolic Constitutions.

At one time, the liturgy found in Book VIII was attributed to Clement of Rome. For this reason the liturgy was often called the Clementine liturgy and will often today be referred to as the Pseudo-Clementine liturgy. It is this text which Drews uses as the basic model for the primitive liturgy. This assumption inherently meant that there was a radical alteration at some unknown juncture to the Roman Canon. Many, if not most, liturgists have more or less followed Drews in his reconstruction of the primitive Roman Canon. Even those who think his reconstruction theories have certain flaws in one point or another generally concede the same conclusion, i.e. that the Roman Canon had been drastically altered at some point. What made such speculation possible is twofold: the paucity of documents which witness to the primitive Roman form and the error of seeking knowledge of the primitive anaphora in unreliable documents. Very famous treatments of the liturgy and the anaphora all reflect this lamentable error from the beginning of the liturgical movement up to the eve of the reform and even into our own times. This principle and unfounded error can be found in Fortescue 6, Rauschen 7, Cagin 8, Gassner 9, Jungmann 10, and Vagaggini 11 among others.

N.B. This is the first installment of a several part series.

1 Rev Dr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained, 6th edition, B. Herder Book Co, 1924.

2 Rev. Dr. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, Loreto Publications, 2003: original printing 1912.

3 Rauschen, Gerhard, Ph.D., S.T.D., Eucharist and Penance: In the First Six Centuries of the Church, B Herder, St. Louis, 1913.

4 Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol, The Mass of the Western Rites, 1934.

5 Liturgy; Canon of the Mass; et al.

6 The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy

7 Eucharist and Penance: The First Six Centuries of the Church

8 Dom Paul Cagin, L’Eucharistia, Canon primitif de la Messe, Paris, 1912.

9 Rev. Dr. Jerome Gassner, O.S.B., The Canon of the Mass: Its History, Theology, and Art, B Herder, St. Louis, 1949.

10 Rev. Dr. Joseph A Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, Benzinger Brothers, New York, 1959.

11 Dom Cipriano Vagaggini, The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform, Alba House, Great Britain, 1966 (trans. 1967).

Sep 3, 2006

Louis Bouyer: Eucharist

Louis Bouyer, Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968. xii + 484p. $22. ISBN10 0-268-00498-6.

Fr. Louis Bouyer of the French Oratory wrote this work in 1966, which was then re-edited in 1968. This latter date coincided with the introduction circa 1967 of three new Eucharistic Prayers to the Roman Rite. Since then, others have been added to the Roman Missal and one would give much to read Fr. Bouyer’s (1913-2004) critique and analysis of their form. In any case, the work here presented is a must read for any liturgical student. One of the most perturbing problems of the liturgical reform, the addition of the new Eucharistic Prayers, is here given its reason for existing. More than that, for these reasons are given in a few short paragraphs at the end of the book, the thoughts and genesis behind the desire for touching in anyway the core of the liturgical rite is explained.

The origins of the liturgical rites have long been a rather perplexing problem with various solutions being given. A synthesis of these solutions to the problem of the origin of the rites can be found in Fr. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass. Bouyer’s work specifies only the anaphora, or Eucharistic prayer, for critique and analysis in an attempt to uncover both the primitive form of the Eucharist and the primitive spirituality. In so doing, he gives vary many examples from Christian liturgical history, both East and West, which alone is worth the price of the book. His thesis rests on the tracing of Christian liturgical development back to its earliest times and even further into its Judaic foundations, especially with regards to the sacred meal prayers, or berakoth. He fully gives an explanation of these berakoth along with examples that can hardly be found elsewhere. Through the use of comparative liturgy, Bouyer finds in these berakoth the primitive form of the Eucharistic prayer. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the Last Supper was celebrated according to Jewish liturgical rites, or at least according to Jewish liturgical forms. This does not equate to reducing the Eucharistic prayer to a Jewish berakoth, however. It is within this structure that Christ gives new meaning and radically therefore alters, or rather fulfills, the ancient Jewish berakoth forever. We shall return to this point later.

The generally accepted theories of the Eucharistic prayer by liturgists seek to find the primitive Eucharist in sources such as the Apostolic Tradition, the Pseudo-Clementine Liturgy of Book VIII of the Apostolic Constitutions, and in the Divine Liturgy of St. James. This in turn meant that the Roman Canon had suffered some radical altering of its form for it was supposed that it had its primitive state in one of the liturgies just mentioned. Bouyer completely debunks this theory and proves even more surely that the Roman Canon retains the ancient form of the primitive Eucharist than any of these three supposedly primitive rites. It remains true that some restructuring of the Roman Canon happened but that is purely development and not the radical restructuring that some liturgists had supposed. Bouyer goes a long way towards giving credence to the development theories espoused by Gerhard Rauschen. Rauschen had argued against the theories of a radical alteration of the Roman Canon according to the Epiclesis argument. He had also affirmed the probability that what restructuring took place was due to influence from Alexandria rather than Ravenna. All this seems to be proven by Bouyer’s thesis. I am completely convinced on at least this count.

Unfortunately, the work also has a touch of the fever that has run through liturgists of this century that somehow the liturgy had become corrupted by accretions throughout the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages as these are more wont to call them. He also seems to be somewhat affected by an archeologism of sorts with regards to his insistence that the Eucharistic prayer is ideally situated within the context and language of a sacrificial meal (something that Benedict XVI, as a Cardinal, was highly critical of). He also seems to enjoy using the word Eucharist in its etymological sense of thanksgiving rather than in reserving it in reference to the Blessed Sacrament. I suppose that is hardly something to quibble over though it something that I found to be an annoyance. Nevertheless, this work is essential in understanding how the old offertory prayers came to be replaced by Jewish meal prayers and how the first three additions of Eucharistic prayers came to find a place in the Roman Missal along side the venerable and ancient Roman Canon. The fourth Eucharistic prayer in particular bears the marks of Bouyer’s genius and authorship. He is quite enamored of the Anaphora of St. Basil. He also identifies the third Eucharistic prayer as built upon the Gallican-Mozarabic traditions. I recommend this book highly both for the quality of scholarship in the analysis, as well as for the wealth of liturgical data found within, but not without cautioning that it be read with a critical eye.