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Book of Common Prayer

Publication Date: October 7, 2010

Chapter: English Literature in the Sixteenth Century

The Norton excerpts only a small portion of the "Book of Common Prayer," but I found the few pages presented particularly fascinating. Essentially, it's the "script" for a wedding ceremony and the truly interesting thing is that most of it hasn't changed in over four hundred years. To this day, we still follow the same lines, beat-for-beat, even in secular services. We even use nearly identical language, so that a wedding ceremony conducted in the 1550s would sound pretty much the same to a 21st century ear. As I said, fascinating. Or perhaps that's just me.

The only major difference is in what we choose to exclude from the original script, which essentially boils down to the seventeen-hundred references to God. While I'm sure some of the more highly religious ceremonies leave most of it in to this day, most secular ceremonies cut all the parts about worshipping the Holy Trinity.

Also, as noted in the comic, there's no kissing, which is pretty weak. I wonder if that was just some improv comedy by a priest in the distant past. Like, he went off-script for a second, thinking "Screw it! Let's see if I can get these two to make out," and the adlib stuck.

Author: Thomas Cranmer • Year: 1549 • Info: Wikipedia

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