Building on the approach set out in his Search for the Origins of Christian Worship, Paul Bradshaw attempts to drill down at several key points beneath the surface impression of early Christian worship that has been accepted in most studies of the primary sources. His aim is to see whether a somewhat different picture emerges when one examines the material with altered presuppositions and a questioning attitude.
Thus, each chapter in Reconstructing Early Christian Worship begins from the conventional depiction of its topic. The author then subjects the sources to an assessment from the perspective of the methodology set out in his earlier work, which then leads to new conclusions. Important aspects of the Eucharist, baptism, and daily prayer are each explored in turn and new understandings of those rites opened up. The resulting change in perception not only affects how we reconstruct our Vision of the past but also how we use the past as precedent for worship practice today. Each chapter ends with a comment on the possible modern application of these new discoveries.
Pal F. Bradshaw is professor of liturgy at the University of Notre Dame, and priest-vicar of Westminster Abbey and a member of the Church of England Liturgical Commission. He is the author or editor of several major books (The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship, Eucharistic Origins, Reconstructing Early Christian Worship, The Study of Liturgy, A Companion to Common Worship, volumes 1 and 2).