A very thorough and in-depth study of the origin of the ‘Divine Office’ or ‘Liturgy of the Hours’ or the ‘Prayer of the Church’ – whatever name you wish to give to this aspect of the liturgical life of the Church. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Paul Bradshaw takes the reader on a tour of the history of this liturgy that, while heavy going at times, provides a solid basis for those who wish to know more or for those who celebrate this liturgy on a regular basis.
Highly recommended, though may not be to everyone’s taste.
From the back cover:
In liturgical study, and especially in English liturgical study, the subject of the daily office has always been something of the poor relation,” writes the author in his preface. This volume aims to do something to fill that gap. It begins with a detailed examination of the Jewish background and of the practice of daily prayer in the first three centuries of the Church, and goes on to trace the evolution of the divine office in both its monastic and secular forms in East and West down to the time of St. Benedict. Intended as a replace for The Influence of the Synagogue upon the Divine Office by C.W. Dugmore (Alcuin Club Collection No. 45), it not only incorporates the results of recent research by continental scholars and others but also challenges traditional assumptions at a number of important points, offering a fresh interpretation of the evidence.