For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Lectionary - the almost final version

Could one read the whole Bible in a liturgical year?

I've been working on this lectionary for several years. It adapts the traditional Sarum lectionary for the Mass (unchanged) and Office of Mattins (tweaked), adding in a lesson for the end of Prime and two lessons for Vespers, like Evensong. One reads the entirety of Holy Scripture in one year - except that there is some redundancy, and owing to the variable length of the seasons after Epiphany and Trinity, there are at least five weeks of lessons in any one year that won't get an outing.

This is close to the final iteration. There is still a bit of work to be done on the Sanctoral and I'm sure there are undiscovered mistakes.

For some background.... the oldest Western lectionary we know of in the Ordines Romani was possibly arranged around the four seasons (and the Ember Days?): I've written in brief about this before...

It seems that the early Roman Breviary's year was divided up into four sections, roughly corresponding to the seasons and bounded by the Ember Days. Genesis to Judges formed the spring lessons (in Lent, from Quinquagesima to Passion Sunday) along with the Easter and Whitsuntide lessons of Acts, Revelation and the General Epistles. Summer (after Trinity) saw the reading of the books of the Kings; and autumn the Wisdom books. The Prophets from Isaiah to Malachi were begun in December, and continued until the following Lent after the Christmas season. The Gospels and the "Apostle", i.e. the Pauline Epistles, were read at the stational Masses.
The Pauline Epistles were added to the Sundays after Epiphany sometime around the 8th Century, and the creation of the liturgical "months" of August to November resulted in some displacement (e.g. the minor prophets were moved to November).

I have made some accommodations but kept as close as I could to this general scheme: there are four lessons per day excluding the Missal lessons, each averaging about 20-25 verses. The placement of Old Testament lessons, where these diverge from the ancient schema, follows a typological rationale e.g. the giving of the Law = Pentecost. It has taken more than three years to put this together partly because it had to be revised by experience and usage.

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