Well, my love affair with the Middle Ages (warts and all) continues with the new issue of Christian History. This one is another mini-guide, like our Guide to Christian Thought on Hell.
This one surveys worship from the time of Constantine to the eve of the Reformation.
Master writer and liturgiologist (and friend) Dr. Jennifer Woodruff Tait wrote the whole thing, and it’s wonderful.
The design by Doug Johnson and images found by image researcher Jennifer Trafton help create a marvelous sense of time travel: the thematic articles on art & architecture, Scripture and sermons, music, leadership, and sacraments survey the landscape of medieval worship, and the three “snapshots” of what it would have been like to experience a worship service in 400, 800, and 1400 AD put you in the midst of the action.
Go ahead and check it out, in its full, image-rich glory, at http://www.christianhistorymagazine.org. I would love to hear your feedback here.
David Ligare, Still Life with Grape Juice and Sandwiches (Xenia), 1989
OK folks, here’s my review of (the first half of) my friend Jennifer Woodruff Tait’s University of Alabama Press book, The Poisoned Chalice: Eucharistic Grape Juice and Common-Sense Realism in Victorian Methodism (2011). Dr. Woodruff Tait is (I say it frequently) the best writer I know, hands-down. She has 18th-century clarity and 19th-century passion for her topic.
True confession: This blog tour has hit me at an extraordinarily busy time. I did read Jenn’s dissertation all the way through several years ago—and not just because she cited my dissertation several times in her first chapter. I was fascinated by the story she tells. I can say that this time around, I read 69 of her 129 pages, and I remembered why I appreciate her historical scholarship so much, and why I hope she will research and write again, to our edification.
Without further ado, then: Continue reading
OK, now that I’ve got the attention of all the Danny Kaye fans (yes, the headline quotation comes from the wonderful movie The Court Jester) . . .
Watch this space tonight for a brief review – part of a “blog tour” – of Jennifer Woodruff Tait’s fascinating book The Poisoned Chalice. All I’ll say now is that it’s about the 19th-century shift in American Methodism from wine to grape juice in the Eucharist. And if that seems a small or limited topic, you won’t believe how many other things come spilling out when Jennifer pulls that thread (or that cork?).