Page 6, 6th December 1963

6th December 1963
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Page 6, 6th December 1963 — A classic study of the English Monasteries
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A classic study of the English Monasteries

IN October. I')37 Dont David Knowles completed his classic The Monastic Order in England. Since then there has been a marked development in monastic studies due largely either to his teaching or to his stimulus. In 1948 there was a photographic re-print of his volume. Now at last there is a second edition.

The exact pagination and lay out of the volume has been preserved and yet 150 corrections and alterations have been made an extraordinary feat of ingenuity on the part of Dom David and worthy of the acrostic., ability of Ronald Knox.

It it possible that it was a considerable economy for the Cambridge Press. For most

medievalists it :11 seem an inordinate waste of Dom David's time. For all medievalists would have welcomed his re-thoughts without such limitations.

There are still less than 51 pages on English Monasticism from St. Dunstan to the Conquest. Yet since 1937 so much has been added to our knowledge of the pre-conquest Church, very notably and very recently by Professor Barlow, that there could well have been another chapter in the new edition.

Besides the treatment of the Welsh Cistercian houses formed one of the very few inadequate sections in the first edition. There was so much more to he written on their significance for Welsh life and art; but the 1937 section seems to remain unchanged.

Also. much might have been added to the brief ten pages on illumination of manuscripts and monastic handcraft. But Dom David has added some additional notes to the volume, of which perhaps the most significant is his summary of the dispute on Cistercian origins. And all must be grateful to the Cambridge Press that one of the most important -of their many publications is again in circulation. G.M. The Monastic Order in England 940-1216 b Dom David Knowles (Cambridge University Press, 70s).

Foxe's Book of Martyrs and The Elect Nation by William Hailer (Jonathan Cape, 30s.).

Born in Bethlehem by H. W. van der Vaart Smit (Helicon, 165.).

Christmas in Bethlehem and Holy Week at Mount Athos by Christopher Rand (Oxford University Press, 28s.).

They Lived by Faith by Helga Rusche (Helicon, 16s.)..

true Worship, The Fifth Downside Symposium edited by Lancelot Sheppard (Dayton, Longman & Todd, 16s, paperback; 25s. bound).

The New Vocation by Josef Hornef (Mercier Press, 5s.).

I, a Sinner by Fray Jose Mojica, O.F.M. (Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, 42s.).

Professor Hailer. an American scholar of great distinction gives a scholarly but very readable Presentation of John Foxe's Actes and Monumentes in the context of its own time and with an evaluation of later editions.

He writes refreshingly of a somewhat familiar period, and presents soberly the intriguing view of some Elizabethan historians that England was destined by God to he his Fleet Nation under its godly prince, Elizabeth. The hook gains further piquancy from the contemporary wood

cuts. K.M.

Black

Born in Bethlehem is an earnest attempt to get away from Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Some points may surprise: the "census" of St. Luke is nothing of the sort. the "brothers of the Lord" are half brothers or sons of St. Joseph by a former marriage, the birth of Christ in August, the "star" of the Magi a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces in 7 B.C., the year of our Lord's birth. We need not agree on all points, but all is argued robustly and in a good Catholic spirit

Christmas in Bethlehem will arouse nostalgia in those who have lived in Palestine. But it is rather the externals of Christmas which are depicted. The section too on Holy Week at Mount Athos is an admirable description of a tourney, but hardly of Holy Week.

They Lived by Faith consists of short chapters on some of the women in Scripture and furnishes excellent matter for

prayer and thought. R.

Friars'

True Worship is a collection of stimulating and very well informed papers. Fr. Dalmais O.P. opens with a paper on Christian liturgy and the mystery of salvation. A great Anglican liturgist, the late Fr. Gabriel Hebert, contributes a useful, compact introduction to the difficult subject of Old Testament worship.

Father Bouyer of the Oratory makes fascinating comparisons between Jewish and early Christian worship, and Fr. Crichton gives an historical sketch of the Roman liturgy in 37 pages that is a tour de force.

The Abbot of Bee writes profoundly on liturgy and contemplation, and .Fr. Minchin draws some interesting conclusions from the latest archaelogicat research.

The editor pleads for authenticity in worship of symbol, rite, and for integration of the teachand gesture, for the vernacular, ing of religion and the practice of worship. With its useful bibliography this is a book for all whose interest has been aroused by the Council's discussion of the liturgy. P.M.

Another matter of Council interest is that of lay-deacons. The New Vocation, a translation of Josef Hornef's book, advocates full-time and part-time deacons working jointly. not hound to celibacy nor confined to the ranks of older men.

They will be men who, with a special grace of ordination. will bridge the gulf between priest and layman. provide a model of Christian married life. and help priests in innumerable ways. at home and on the missions.

The book is comprehensive and well argued. though its enthusiasm may only alienate further and already hostile and there is something rather Germanic in its bias towards organisation rather than voluntary activity.

Rut no one should oppose the revival of an independent diaconate unless he has taken seriously the arguments here put forward. An excellent fiveshillings-worth.

C.R.

In I, a Sinner Fray Jos& a Mexican tells the colourful story of his life with unaffected simplicity and rich local colour— bullfights, festivals. revolutions. He lost his childhood faith, then in middle life and famous on stage and screen, made the dazzling discovery of St. Francis: he returned to his religion. became a Franciscan priest. and writes his book (supplemented with many photographs) under obedience.

K.M.




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