Talk:Book of Common Prayer

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Wikipedia's motto[edit]

A modest proposal. made with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, that Wikipedia's motto should be taken from Thomas Cranmer's first sentence in "Concering the Service of the Church",

All those poor GA and FA articles suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune of the aggrieved, or the twelve-year-old, or the anonymous IP editor seem to be reflected in that one ancient sentence. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast 20:24, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Contents List for BCP[edit]

It would, I think, be appropriate to add a Contents List similar to that printed in a recent Book of Common Prayer (with an indication of any significant changes that may have from time to time occurred), and also a Contents List for the Preface (likewise).

There is no mention in the Page of the Date of Easter Sunday, which for non-churchgoers is perhaps the most relevant part of the Book. Clearly, that section of the Preface will have changed significantly in about 1752. (talk) 12:28, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Which BCP, CofE, Church in Wales, The Episcopal Church etc etc. There are also potential issues of copyright in actaully reproducing content of the book in that manner. David Underdown (talk) 12:36, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
BCP, unqualified and in a neutral context, means that of the Church of England, in a current edition. There should be no copyright problem in giving a small part such as the Contents List of the Preface. It's elsewhere on the Web (and so could be linked to from here). Great detail is certainly inappropriate; but its existence can reasonably be indicated. (talk) 17:12, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
That's simply not true. There is no "neutral context" which to evaluate. In England, it means C of E, but that's no more neutral than saying that in the USA it means something different--or has no determinate meaning. Moreover, this article is about all the BCPs, not just one of them, and so giving only one ToC is a pointless exercise. (And too much detail, as Wassupwestcoast points out.) Tb (talk) 20:20, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
The "Book of Common Prayer" - the title of this Article - is that of the Church of England. To cover all books of common prayer, including other books which the C of E now often uses, there should be a new Article "Books of Common Prayer"; and, for clarity, there should be two more new Articles : "Prayer Books of the Church of England" and "The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England". Then, after distributing its content into those Articles, this Article should be removed. (talk) 12:35, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Far too much detail. A Wikipedia article is supposed to be an overview of the subject without the detail: see Wikipedia:The perfect article. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 16:26, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

1962 Canadian BOCP Controversy[edit]

Is there a reliable source explaining the rational for omitting specific Psalms from the 1962 Canadian BOCP? That was my reasoning for originally slapping a [cite] tag. What I didn't do, and should have, was elaborated on that request on this talk page.  :( jonathon (talk) 04:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

After the update to the ref, detailing just which verses of which psalms were omitted (thank you!), the question remains in my mind: "Why these particular verses?" I think I am probably not alone in the readership in this regard, so if anyone knows anything about the reasoning, it would behoove us to fill that lacuna in the article.--Bhuck (talk) 09:11, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

BOCP in orthodox communities[edit] (talk) 20:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC) wester rite eastern orthodox communities also use the Book of Common Prayers in their prayers


Book of Common Prayer#Ireland is confusing (to me), so I added a {{clarify}} tag. It seems to refer in part to translations into the Irish language, and in other parts to English language updates of the BCP for the Church of Ireland. It would merit some attention from someone with access to a history of the topic.

1662 image[edit]

On closer examination, the image used here has a date of MDCC... i.e. 1762. Is this a mistake? (talk) 21:59, 3 December 2008 (UTC) This is the 1762 Baskerville printing of the Book of Common Prayer. The Book was originally published in 1662 and had not changed in 100 years, but it is not the original title page from 1662. Dabbler (talk) 02:19, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

New Zealand[edit]

Is the title of the prayerbook used in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia also "Book of Common Prayer"?--Bhuck (talk) 08:56, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Common Prayer Book dated 1789[edit]

I have the above mentioned prayer book, which was passed on to me by my Mother in Law. here's how it reads inside (The Book of Common Prayer, aand Administraton of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church) According to the use of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the united state of America, Together with The Psafter or Psalms of David Oxford University Press (American Branch) 35 West 32nd Stree, New York

Then the Certificate is signed by Samuel Hart, Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer. Jan 1 1898. The Ratification of the Book of Common Pray. Dated Octobeer 1789. I was born 1944, was Baptisted in St. Johns Baptist Church, in Bromsgrove England. I have never seen a prayer book this old. I'm sure their are other ones.

Thank You, Ann Elizabeth McNeal (talk) 17:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Methodist book[edit]

The Methodists also use a book of common prayer, made by John Wesley and based of of that of the Church of England's. Should this not be added? Tarheelz123 (talk) 16:28, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be better to have a separate article on the Methodist book? +Angr 18:43, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I was not sure, considering that the Methodist book is a revised version of the Anglican one. There is no page on wikipedia explaining the book, so I figured I would ask here. Tarheelz123 (talk) 21:51, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I am an United Methodist, and we don't have a revised Book of Common Prayer. Now, yes, John Wesley did make a revision of the BCP, but it is pretty much no longer in use. Present day Methodists do in fact use the United Methodist Book of Worship which finds its inspiration with the BCP (using several collects and orders of service from the Book, the Revised Common Lectionary, and arranged in a very similar order,) and the United Methodist Hymnal also is majorly influenced by it. Anthony 'Timoteo' Fisher 16:41, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Cornwall section.[edit]

Should be changed to "Devon and Cornwall" also, the section should be expanded to included Devon. -- (talk) 21:23, 1 December 2010 (UTC)


History and influence are certainly an important thing to look at talking about a book, but I think the content is more important, and the content lacks its own section. The rites included within the Book of Common prayer should be described, and the differences and similarities to other liturgies, the principles that guided the authors, and so on--Hannesde Correct me! 13:24, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Good points. What is probably needed is a tabulated presentation of the content of the four versions of the English text of the Book of Commona Prayer 1549, 1552, 1559 and 1662; with a brief note in each box as to the source of the rite or text. Much of this is already within the History section, but it would be clearer in this form.TomHennell (talk)

Is it proper to reference only the Book of Common Prayer when quoting parts of it that were taken directly (or mostly) from the Holy Bible? For instance the blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 of the bible is included as a prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, but often the book is given as the source for it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:15, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Concerns about Lead Section[edit]

I feel this section needs a bit of tidying up, there are a number of minor errors and perhaps the English could be polished. I'll list the concerns:
1)to say The book included the other occasional services in full implies that MP EP Litany and Holy Communion are also occasional services. This is incorrect (see the entry "occasional offices" in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, for a reference);
2) The verb included is overworked here.
3) The Psalms/Canticles were to be "saied or sung" see the rubric before the Venite. Most of the succeeding rubrics say "used" and this keeps the option open.
4) The 1552 revision was used for a short time (Procter and Frere - p.85 in the 1902 ed)
5) How far is it true to say the changes in 1559 were "from 1549"? The only specific one I can think of is putting the 1549 words of administration before those of 1552. The majority of changes were minor. The omission of the Black Rubric and the inclusion of the Ornaments Rubric may be interpreted as moves towards the spirit of 1549, but are not from it.
6) How about a mention of 1604? The alterations in the catechism are significant.
7) The phrase The Book of Common Prayer appears in many variants feels awkward to me. Perhaps "Locally revised versions of the English books ..." (We must not forget the 1549/1637(Scotland) influence)
--Jpacobb (talk) 22:20, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

If no one objects within the next few days, I will start to edit along the lines as suggested--Jpacobb (talk) 15:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

What about 1604?[edit]

The 1604 Revision is more important than the Article implies. I suggest it be given a section to itself, based on the last long paragraph on 1559 which starts "On the Queen's death ...". It should be noted that the 1604 revision replaced 1559 as the legal Prayer Book. The legal mechanism was that James I "explained" the 1559 book with the advice of ecclesiastical commissioners as provided in the 1559 Act of Uniformity and the exercise of his ecclesiastical jurisdiction and sanctioned by the Convocations (P&F-1902 p.141) P&F also list the changes which affected far more than the Catechism.

This also affects the section on 1662. While the process of revision was complicated it is clear from both P & F pp 204,5 and Dix (The Shape of the Liturgy pp688ff) that 1604 served as the basis for the revision despite the initial attempt of the House of Commons to start from 1552 and the text should be emmended accordingly.

Two other details concerning 1559 and 1662 are: (1) The treatment of the Ornaments Rubric is misleading in that its interpretation has been questioned and it is perfectly clear that, at the time it was a dead letter in that the Bishop's spent their time trying to enforce the surplice as opposed to not using any vestment at all; and (ii) the reference to the Prayer for the Church Militant and the thanksgiving for the faithful departed (included for the first time in 1662 - P&F 197) gives the impression that they were prayed for: in fact God was thanked for their lives and examples and the petition was for the living that they might follow their good example.--Jpacobb (talk) 00:03, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Changes made and pending[edit]

I have done a certain amount of editorial work on the Edwardine BCPs and general presentation (breaking up the long sections with some sub-headings) along the lines indicated in my previous posts here. There is an addition about Morning Prayer in 1552. I hope they are all non-controversial. In the near future I shall work on the MARY, 1559 (where I have already inserted a link to the "Ornaments Rubric" and a qualifying clause (at least until the Queen gave further instructions under the Act of Uniformity of 1559)) and 1604.

However, returning to 1552, the statements about "regeneration" need some careful thought and behind this lies the problem of the meaning of the adjective "reformed": does it refer to the varied reformations of the 16th Century in general (Lutheran, Anglican, Calvinist, ¿Zuinglian? and Radical) or to the theology emanating from Geneva (and, if the latter, from Calvin himself or from Beza?). The observations on the burial rite are also open to question. The initial rubric says to go either into the Church or to the grave. More important though are the comments on the theology of the service.--Jpacobb (talk) 00:15, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Editing 1604 (and 1662)[edit]

The following text has been removed from 1604 and inserted in tye 1662 section, since it corresponds to P&F's description of the Savoy Conference and does not fit any account of Hampton Court.

The objections of the English Puritans were; firstly, that it was improper for the lay congregation to take any vocal part in prayer (as in the Litany or Lord's Prayer), other than to say "Amen"; secondly, that no set prayer should exclude the option of an extempore alternative from the Minister; thirdly, that the Minister should have the option to omit part of the set liturgy at his discretion; fourthly, that short Collects should be replaced by longer prayers and exhortations; and fifthly, that all surviving "Catholic" ceremonial should be removed (Harrison 1982, p. 53).

I may edit it further later. --Jpacobb (talk) 19:51, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

1549: Dubious Discuss[edit]

The text is unclear as to whether the reasons given for infrequent communion are found in primary sources and referred to in secondary ones, or they are secondary interpretations as to possible causes which are unsubstantiated at the primary level. I cannot recall any primary sources and, if my memory serves me rightly, the secondary sources say "perhaps" or "possibly".--Jpacobb (talk) 01:36, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

"Reformed" vs "Reformation" vs "Protestant"[edit]

The adjective "reformed" appears at least 9 times in the article. Lead, 1552 x 3, 1559, Scotland, 1662, plus a couple of times in the later part. According to McGrath (Reformation Thought (3rd Ed - Blackwell, 1999: pp7-9) the current tendency is to restrict the range of "reformed" to what used to be labeled "Calvinist" and to keep "Calvinist" for the theology etc. of Calvin himself. I consider that the usage of the article should be brought into line with this and therefore in some cases at least "reformed" ought to be replaced with "protestant" or perhaps a reference to "reformation thought" (or "theology") My tentative suggestions for replacements are in order of appearance:

1) The 1549 book was soon succeeded by a more obviously protestant revision in 1552 under the same editorial hand
2) but that he intended the Prayer Book to be acceptable to the widest range of acceptable Eucharistic belief,
3) and 4) PENDING rewrite is not easy "In other respects, however, both the Baptism and Burial services imply a theology of salvation that accords notably less with Reformed teachings than do the counterpart passages in the Articles of Religion. In the Burial service, the possibility that a deceased person who has died in the faith may nevertheless not be counted amongst God's elect, is not entertained. In the Baptism service the priest explicitly pronounces the baptized infant as being now regenerate. In both cases, conformity with strict Reformed Protestant principles would have resulted in a conditional formulation." [Part of the problem is that Cranmer was writing before Calvin's Institutes reached their definitive form and reformed principles had clearly gelled, and he gave a very clear but idiosyncratic slant to the term regeneration" ("Baptisme doeth represente unto us oure profession" Stephen W. Sykes in Thomas Cranmer ed Margot Johnson pp.129ff)]
5) No change
6) Under Elizabeth, Protestantism was reestablished (as it turned out in a more permanent form) and the 1552 book was republished in 1559, .... [Rewritten to separate the fact of the reestablishment from its by no means certain at the time consequence: permanence.]
7) 1662 Prayer Book marked the end of a period of just over 100 years, when a common form of liturgy served for almost all public worship in England; and the start of the continuing division between Anglicans and Nonconformists (Edwards 1983, p. 313)

["reformed" is redundant here.]Jpacobb (talk) 00:06, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Compress Section Copyright?[edit]

[I accidentally created a new section: I have now transfered the proposal to this one.Jpacobb (talk) 23:04, 3 February 2012 (UTC) ]
The current text is both verbose and contains material which is not directly relevant to the Book of Common Prayer. I suggest it be compressed in the following way. As the Book of Common Prayer is long out of copyright, it can be freely reproduced in most of the world. However, in the United Kingdom, the Crown holds the rights as part of the royal prerogative and as such, they are perpetual in subsistence. Publishers are licensed to reproduce the Book of Common Prayer under letters patent which prohibit anyone other than than the holders (and those authorized by them) from printing, publishing or importing the Book of Common Prayer into the United Kingdom.

Letters patent for England, Wales and Northern Ireland are held by the Queen's Printer, and for Scotland by the Scottish Bible Board. The office of Queen's Printer has been associated with the right to reproduce the Bible for many years, with the earliest known reference coming in 1577. Other letters patent of similar antiquity grant Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press the right to produce the Book of Common Prayer independently of the Queen's Printer. The Queen's Printer is currently the Cambridge University Press as from their takover of Eyre & Spottiswoode (which had been Queen's Printer since 1901) in the late 20th century. The protection that the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorized Version enjoy is the last remnant of the time when the Crown held a monopoly over all printing and publishing in the United Kingdom. This prerogative should not be confused with Crown copyright, or copyright in works of the United Kingdom's government.

The Episcopal Church's book is always released into the public domain.[1] Trial use and supplemental liturgies are however copyrighted by Church Publishing, the official publishing arm of the church.

Perhaps some of the material I have removed should be relocated in Crown copyright or {Queen's Printer]].Jpacobb (talk) 23:52, 21 January 2012 (UTC)Jpacobb (talk) 23:12, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Copyright status[edit]

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Explain Roll-back[edit]

When used without another date, a reference to "The Book of Common Prayer" is usually understood to indicate the 1662 edition which leads to a false statement. Even if referred to the 1549 book it would be misleading in that there were official primers in English as from 1534 and unofficial ones were circulating some years earlier. The statement about the BCP's influence is probably true but unsourced. Jpacobb (talk) 14:13, 4 July 2012 (UTC)


There was widespread opposition to the introduction of regular congregational Communion, partly because the extra costs of bread and wine that would fall on the parish[dubious – discuss]; but mainly out of an intense resistance to undertaking in regular worship, a religious practice previously associated with marriage or illness.

What is meant by "undertaking" here? (talk) 17:15, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

"Prayer Book" vs "prayer book" & "minister" vs "clergy"[edit]

I have reverted some of the recent changes made by User:Afterwriting for the following reasons:

  1. Phrases like "the 1662 Prayer Book" are to all intents and purposes a "short title" which name a specific work, so the 'P' and the 'B' should be capitalised
  2. The works cited use the noun "minister" not "clergy" as did the 1660 "Act for the Settling of Ministers".

(Perhaps I can speculate here that the word "minister" was used because in the eyes of the strict high churchmen they were not clergy!) Jpacobb (talk) 01:58, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I appreciate that questions about when to capitalise or not can sometimes be difficult. Wikipedia does, however, have its own style principles on these questions which sometimes conflict with the "house style" of organisations or the personal preferences of individuals. In general only the full name of things are normally meant to be capitalised. So I'm not sure whether your edits conform with this principle. When I find the relevant style information I will post it here for further consideration and discussion. Afterwriting (talk) 05:06, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I have had a look at MOS:CAPS and it seems that its relevant points can be summed up as follows. The lead section states that "words and phrases which are consistently capitalized in sources are treated as proper names and capitalized in Wikipedia". I have checked out references in standard academic authors such as Davies, Spurr and Procter & Frere to the "Directory of Public Worship" all write "Directory" for short and exactly the same must be said for the use of capitals from a wider range of authors with "Prayer Book" and even "Common Prayer" when used of the liturgy. At two later points in the article, it gives examples of a common noun being capitalized when it is used as a shortened reference to a specific person or event. These are: (i) if one is referring to a specific monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) one should write "the Queen" and (ii) to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, "the Exodus". All this seems to me to point to the use of capitals in these circumstances. Jpacobb (talk) 17:45, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, his version of MOS:CAPS was wrong but you're not right either. "The 1662 prayer book" and "the 1662 Prayer Book" are both fine. That said, if the RS prefer it in caps, probably better to go along with them. — LlywelynII 19:01, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Title's wrong[edit]

Either this is an actual italicized title—in which case that title is The Book of Common Prayer, or this is a descriptive name in which case we shouldn't be italicizing it. (Hint: The second one is the correct way to fix this. Worth noting that out of 25-odd uses on this page, exactly 0 of them—before me—italicized this name in the fashion of a standard title.) — LlywelynII 18:58, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

@LlywelynII: It's neither an actual title nor a descriptive name. As the article explains, the full name is The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites etc. This makes the Book of Common Prayer a shortened form of the actual title, and such cases should be italicized. You wouldn't leave italics out of [The] New York Times either, would you? Or from A History of Western Philosophy [and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day] (see WP:SUBTITLE).
A descriptive name would be something like "the book used in Anglican service" (compare with cases at MOS:TITLE#Neither).


Broken "Griffith Thomas" reference[edit]

In the "1662" section there is a reference "(Griffith Thomas 1963, pp. 508–521)". Clicking that link doesn't take you down to the "References" as it should, because there the work by Griffith Thomas has the date 1930. A search at confirms that 1930 is the date of the first edition. But changing 1963 to 1930 would only be valid if someone can check that the stated page numbers are correct for the 1930 edition. Does anyone have a copy of this book, in any edition? -- John of Reading (talk) 20:09, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Welsh translation?[edit]

When was the Welsh translation made? I ask this as it was obviously early on, and it was a major language back then. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:49, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

The full Prayer Book, translated by William Salesbury was published in 1567. Salesbury had earlier (1551) made a partial translation of the key texts of the 1549 Prayer Book. TomHennell (talk) 21:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

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Search from Search Wikipedia box points to wrong section[edit]

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