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The Catholic Historical Review 87.4 (2001) 720-723

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Book Review

The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography

The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography. Edited by Margot E. Fassler and Rebecca A. Baltzer. (New York: Oxford University Press. 2000. Pp. xxiv, 632. $65.00.)

Liturgy frequently figures in scripture and sacred literature as a heavenly banquet or royal feast. Margot Fassler and Rebecca Baltzer have brought to the festal [End Page 720] board a cornucopia full of rich and varied offerings. This book presents twenty-three essays by internationally renowned medievalists and liturgical musicologists on the liturgy of the hours in the medieval Latin West. The essays are arranged as chapters under six general headings: a methodological introduction, the pre-Carolingian office, manuscript studies, regional developments from the Carolingian era to the later Middle Ages, hagiography, and the use of computers in research on the divine office.

The intended readers, or rather invited guests, range from the novice in liturgical studies to the adept in the more specialized fields of musical palaeography and the performance of Latin verse. In other words, there is something for everyone at this bountiful table.

As a prelude to the feast, Lila Collamore welcomes the reader to the study and arrangement of the liturgy of the hours as the means par excellence of sanctifying time with scriptural prayer over the course of the day, the night, the week, the year. Margot Fassler then lays out the common source materials for the study of the office and its history, using Advent as a test case for dealing with the various tools and indices available to today's liturgical scholar. László Dobszay explains how to read an office book.

Leading the second section, on the pre-Carolingian office, James MacKinnon (d. 1999) lays out the origins of the western office. Joseph Dyer comments on the office in the Rule of the Master. Peter Jeffery identifies eastern and western elements in the Irish monastic hours.

The third section contains four chapters on manuscript studies. Ritva Jacobsson discusses the office of St. Andrew in the oldest extant Latin office book, the Antiphoner of Compiègne (ca. 870). James Grier treats the office at St.-Martial in the early eleventh century. Michel Huglo examines the Cluniac Processional of Solesmes. Susan Rankin studies the presence of non-liturgical songs in some liturgical offices.

The fourth and largest section, on regional development from the early ninth century to the later Middle Ages, includes a treatment by Terence Bailey on the development and chronology of the Ambrosian sanctorale. Wulf Arlt presents the clerics' office for the feast of the Circumcision from Le Puy. Craig Wright describes the Palm Sunday procession in medieval Chartres.

The fifth part, devoted to hagiography, explores offices of particular saints. Gunilla Iversen shows how the office of King Olav of Norway transformed a viking into a saint. Janka Szendrei examines the prose historia of St. Augustine, whose liturgical cult enjoyed surprisingly limited and uneven currency in the Middle Ages. David Hiley explores the music of the office of St. Julian of Le Mans, identifying nontraditional and nonstandard turns of phrase in Létald of Micy's historia of the saint. Rebecca A. Baltzer shows how the little office of the Blessed Virgin, performed by clerics for clerics in the renowned cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, renewed the sense of mission and Marian devotion of [End Page 721] those who celebrated it on a regular basis. James John Boyce discusses the source material of the Carmelite feast of the Presentation of the Virgin, demonstrating how the Carmelites of Mainz adapted established melodies, particularly from the well-respected and widely disseminated office of St. Thomas of Canterbury, in order to concentrate on theological rather than musical considerations.

The sixth and final section deals with the liturgy of the hours and computers. Andrew Hughes, blending musical expertise with a facility for handling state-


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