Bletsien þec, dryhten

I’m always amused when people refer to Rite I as “Old English.” It’s really not…

If you want to hear one of the canticles in real honest-to-goodness Old English, check out an Old English version of the Benedicite (with a narrative frame) read by Prof. Michael Drout: Part 1 and Part 2. The full text is here if you’d like to read along.

8 thoughts on “Bletsien þec, dryhten

  1. Christopher

    No, Rite I is updated Elizabethan/Jacobean English. Old English feeels more Germanic somehow. I’m curious as to your thoughts on my note about the BCP.

  2. Michelle

    It really bugs me, along with the assumption that if you like all things medieval, then you must perfer Rite I. I don’t really like the Elizabethan era, so why would I like Rite I language.

    I find Rite I to be distracting. We use Rite I during Lent on the idea that you have to concentrate on the words more because it is more difficult/foreign. It works the opposite on me. When I concentrate more on reading it correctly, I concentrate less on what it actually says. I might like the Rite I liturgical choices better if they were in modern English.

  3. Derek the Ænglican

    I greatly prefer Rite I.

    For me the language serves as a reminder that we are not in the typical sphere of operation. Furthermore, I find it aesthetically superior to Rite II. Use of the “vernacular” need not mean banality.

  4. Marshall Scott

    Worse, it’s a 19th Century recension of a 17th Century idea of what Jacobean English sounded like.

    Derek, I think the biggest problem with perceiving the contemporary language (which is how I characterize Rite II, in contrast to “traditional language”) is not the banality of the words, but the banality of the presentation. I think there’s plenty of majesty in Rite II. I think a culture of “chumminess” in the liturgy, if you will, is the problem. I think a common inability to distinguish between good, contemporary hymnody and cheap “praise music” is of the same order.

    Of course, as Derek and Christopher know, I’m ready for the revision process to start again, with all the risks that entails….

  5. Derek the Ænglican

    Marshall+, the liturgical presentation culture’s certainly part of it–but I don’t think all.

    I think this topic could be fodder for a fuller post at the Cafe…

  6. Christopher

    I’m not ready for the revision process until we question some assumptions of the last revision. Until that work is done, I’m afraid in revision will continue a push in a direction with which I’m quite uncomfortable.

  7. Christopher

    Someone popped by and just noted that a tendens may be emerging among a small group peers of mine at the GTU, a cohort of liturgical scholars, that is putting into question recent assumptions, and offering a return to the sensibilities of particular traditions.

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