Wendy Mayer

The Changing Shape of Liturgy: Current and Future Approaches from Earliest Christianity to the End of Late Antiquity

In recent decades, the angles from which scholars approach liturgical history and even their definitions of what constitutes liturgy have substantially changed. The introduction of new technologies, changing emphases in the study of material culture and archaeology, the resultant rapid expansion of material sources, the emergent discipline of ritual studies, and the application of new theoretical approaches from other fields, to name but a few, have all exerted influence. keeUsing examples from a wide array of recent research, this paper presents some of the key developments of the past two decades concerning the period stretching from the 2nd to 8th centuries. This historical overview is aimed at stimulating discussion on the important question: where are we heading next?

Wendy Mayer is Research Fellow in the Centre for Early Christian Studies at Australian Catholic University and a Visiting Researcher in the Center for the Study of Early Christianity at Catholic University of America. She publishes primarily on early Christian preaching and on the late-antique priest and bishop, John Chrysostom. She has a n interest in the role of the sermon in the liturgy, the preacher-audience dynamic, the composition and function of worship spaces, stational liturgy on both land and water, and the cult of the saints. In 2012 she published with Pauline Allen The Churches of Syrian Antioch (300-638 CE), the first detailed study of the identity, history, and use of the Christian worship sites of that city in Late Antiquity.