Lecture by Peter Davies

Event time: 
Monday, March 5, 2007 - 4:30pm
Event description: 

The Lion, the Kiwi and the Sacred Cow

Part of the 2006-2007 Liturgy Symposium Series

ISM Great Hall - 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

Refreshments for mind, body, and spirit will be served. Free and open to the public.


After graduating MA in English Language and Literature at Oxford University, Peter N. Davies embarked on a career in education, working for 20 years as a high school teacher in schools in England and New Zealand, and for a further 20 years as inspector of schools. Concurrently, he developed a strong interest in the language of Christian worship since the 1960s and has written and lectured on the uneasy transition from traditional Cranmerian liturgy. In 2003, after graduating PhD at the University of Birmingham, he published Alien Rites: A Critical Examination of Contemporary English in Anglican Liturgies.

In The Lion, the Kiwi and the Sacred Cow, Peter Davies considers the transition from the language of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer to contemporary English in the authorised liturgies of the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand. He goes on to examine some of the questions arising from this development. Why did the transition not take place until the second half of the twentieth century? To what extent has the use of contemporary language in liturgy been accepted and welcomed by regular worshippers? Why is there still a significant body of opinion in the Anglican Communion which regards the 1662 Prayer Book as the only authentic medium of public worship? Furthermore, the responses to these questions lead to a consideration of the characteristics of the language of modern Anglican liturgies. With illustrations mainly from Eucharistic prayers and collects, Dr. Davies will suggest that such language is heterogeneous and, as such, does not constitute a single linguistic variety; that, at its best, it can give authentic expression to feeling and emotion, and, at its least satisfactory, it can be embarrassing and banal.