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Bodies of worship - Bruce T. Morrill

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Bodies of worship - explorations in theory and practice
Bruce T. Morrill
Paperback / softback
Liturgical Press
UK Publication Date

One of the hallmarks of modern society has been a heightened awareness of human bodiliness in all aspects of life- sexual, economic, legal, religious, and so on. Academia has also experienced a heightened awareness of the body. Along with the academy and wider society, Christian theology and pastoral practice have sought to take human bodiliness more prominently into account. However, the ambiguous "career" the body has had in Christian history and tradition, as well as the serious criticisms leveled by secular society at the Church's teachings and practices concerning the body, has made this a challenging task.

Bodies of Worshiptakes on that challenge. First, it systematically explores the various bodies engaged in the Church's worship-ecclesial, ritual, personal, and cultural. It examines each in light of how such humanly sanctifying work continues Christ's mission in the power of the Holy Spirit. The five chapters of Part One are purposefully arranged so they unfold the multivalancy of bodies at worship, thus displaying a certain theological coherence. Then the four chapters in Part Two describe and analyze specific liturgical, physical, and spiritual practices. These chapters offer further insights into the irreducibly bodily nature of the celebration of the Christian life as worship of God.

The entire work is introduced by means of a narrative that describes an actual liturgy which took place just a few years ago. A brief conclusion reflects back across the landscape of the chapters to the narrative and symbolic basis for liturgical theology insofar as it is, at origin and end, practical and pastoral.

Chapters and authors in Part One are the introduction "Initial Considerations: Theory and Practice of the Body in Liturgy Today," by Bruce T. Morrill, SJ; "The Many Bodies of Worship: Locating the Spirit's Work," by Bruce T. Morrill, SJ; "Body and Mystical Body: The Church as Communion," by Bernard J. Cooke; "The Liturgical Body: Symbol and Ritual," by Margaret Mary Kelleher, OSU; "Spirituality and the Body," by Colleen M. Griffith; and "The Cultural Bodies of Worship," by James L. Empereur, SJ.

Chapters and authors in Part Two are "Christian Marriage: Sacramentality and Ritual Forms," by Paul Covino; "Walking the Labyrinth: Recovering a Sacred Tradition," by Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, with Leo Keegan; "The Physicality of Worship," by James L. Empereur, SJ; "Liturgical Music: Bodies Proclaiming and Responding to the Word of God," by Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, with Andrea Goodrich; and the onclusion "Nonsystematic Reflections on the Practical Character of Liturgy and Theology," by Bruce T. Morrill, SJ.

Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, holds the Edward A. Malloy Chair of Catholic Studies in the divinity school at Vanderbilt University where he is also Professor of Theological Studies. In addition to numerous journal articles, book chapters, and reviews, he has published several books, most recentlyEncountering Christ in the Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery in People, Word, and Sacrament(Paulist Press, 2012). His most recent book with liturgical Press isDivine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and DeathPueblo/Liturgical Press, 2009).

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. . . an excellent contribution to a much neglected field of liturgical study and to the understanding of an essential aspect of Christian worship. This book is an admirable combination of theological and pastoral reflection.
John F. Baldovin, SJ, Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

One book could hardly make up for the long tradition of the Church that has tended to regard the human body negatively or even not to regard it all. Bodies of Worship is a giant millennium leap in the right direction! Each chapter in its two parts - theoretical and pastoral - opens up a new avenue for rethinking how we use our bodies in worship, how our bodies are truly 'sacramental' or visible sign through which we are led to the mystery and majesty of God. With all my body: THANK YOU.
Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS, Editor, Liturgical Ministry

This book will appeal to a wide range of persons within both the Church and academy.
It has implications within the Church not only for liturgy and worship, but also for Christian education and spiritual formation.
The academy will also benefit from this insightful scholarship that refuses to separate theory from practice.

. . . the book stimulates the discerning liturgist to re-think liturgical practice in the light of emerging theological, sociological and anthropological issues. . . . It should be on readings lists for graduate/postgraduate students of liturgy as well as on the bookshelves of serious liturgists and pastoral ministers.

Keyword Index
Public worship.
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