The Book of Common Prayer, 1559: The Elizabethan Prayer Book

Front Cover
University of Virginia Press, 2005 - Religion - 427 pages

John E. Booty's edition of The Book of Common Prayer, 1559, first published by the University Press of Virginia for the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1976 and long out of print, is now being reissued in the same handsome format as the original edition. In her foreword to the 2005 reissue, Judith Maltby writes, "It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of the 1559 Prayer Book.... Shakespeare was clearly shaped by a culture in which the vernacular was remarkably vigorous."

Booty's text derives from a rare copy of the Elizabethan Prayer Book printed by Richard Jugge and John Cawode in 1559, now part of the Josiah Benton Collection of the Boston Public Library. Booty modernized spelling and punctuation, but took care not to distort the style and cadence of the Elizabethan text. To place the Prayer Book in its original cultural setting, he wrote a lengthy critical essay that traces the book's history and use during the sixteenth century. Helpful bibliographical notes enable readers to appreciate all the nuances of particular services and their contents. Particularly useful are the general index and the index of biblical passages, features unavailable in other editions of the Prayer Book.

Through this magnificent document one begins to understand not only the Anglican church but also the Elizabethan culture in which Shakespeare lived, for this was one of the books that helped shape Renaissance England in all of its vitality and greatness. As Booty reminds the reader in his preface, each Sunday "in the parish churches and in the cathedrals the nation was at prayer, the commonwealth was being realized, and God, in whose hands the destinies of all were lodged, was worshiped in spirit and in truth."

Published in association with the Folger Shakespeare Library



The Table for the Order of the Psalms to Be Said at Morn ing and Evening Prayer
The Order How the Rest of Holy Scripture Is Appointed to Be Read
Proper Psalms and Lessons at Morning and Evening Pray er for Sundays and Certain Feasts and Days
An Almanac
The Table and Calendar for Psalms and Lessons with Nec essary Rules Appertaining to the Same
The Order for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer throughout the Year
The Litany 12 The Collects Epistles and Gospels to Be Used at the Minis tration of the Holy Communion throughout the Year
The Order of the Ministration of the Holy Communion
Visitation of the Sick
The Communion of the Sick
The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth
A Commination against Sinners with Certain Prayers to Be Used Divers Times in the Year
History of the 1559 Book of Common Prayer

Baptism Both Public and Private
Confirmation Where Also Is a Catechism for Children

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information