Corrections to Lectionary Posts

After some more research, I need to make some corrections and clarifications to some of the previous posts. Some items are things that I overlooked or didn’t notice before; others are items that now seem more significant in light of the trajectories I’m seeing. I’ll note the corrections here, then fold them into the posts where they belong as I have time.

On the 1549 Lectionary

I made two main errors in describing the 1549 Office Lectionary. The first  is not noting the compete absence of 1 & 2 Chronicles. These books are essentially a rewrite of the Samuel/Kings material, the key difference being the intense focus on worship and levitical activities. If anything, the omission of these two books furthers the trend that downplays Israelite worship and ceremonial.

The second error was failing to note that directions on the Office readings were included at points within the Collect/Epistle/Gospel propers for Masses through the year. In addition to clarifications on the lengths of some lessons, I discovered that the book appoints proper psalms at the Offices on Christmas, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, and Pentecost. Furthermore, proper lessons are appointed for Wednesday in Holy Week until Easter Tuesday and for Ascension Day, Pentecost, and the morning of Trinity Sunday. Thus, it *does* provide for a limited number of proper lessons within the moveable section around Easter. It’s noteworthy, though, that in the main even these days don’t effect the OT lessons. In Holy Week, the OT lessons are preempted by the reading of Lamentations, but the Easter week, Ascension, and Pentecost propers are only for the NT lessons, maintaining the continuous reading of the OT. So—retaining as much of the OT as possible while still marking the days seems to be a key consideration.

In addition to the temporal days noted above, there are twelve other days that have appointed proper lessons. The in-course readings continue on the next day, so that no chapters are omitted.  Too, the OT cycle is disturbed as little as possible; of the twelve days, only 5 provide first (OT) lessons for MP & EP while a 6th (Innocents) gives only a proper first OT lesson in the morning, not the evening. The days are:

  • Circumcision
  • Epiphany
  • Conversion of Paul (NT only)
  • Philip & James (NT only)
  • Barnabas (NT only)
  • Nativity of John the Baptist
  • Peter (NT only)
  • All Saints
  • Christmas
  • Stephen (NT only)
  • John (NT only)
  • Inn (1 OT only)

Where NT only lessons are provided they are from Acts with the exception of John who receives his from Revelation.

Daniel’s chapters run to a total of 14. Canonical Daniel runs to 12 chapters indicating the inclusion of Susanna as ch 13 and Bel & the Dragon as ch 14.

On the 1552 Lectionary

I had said that I had found no changes to the Scriptures appointed between the 1549 and 1552 lectionaries. Upon further probing, I found some!

In the month of March, there are some oddities in the reading of Joshua. In the 1549 book, Joshua begins on the 15 at MP and continues sequentially through EP of the 26th. In the 1552 book, Joshua begins on the 15th at MP but the 16th heralds a shift… Joshua 3 is read at MP—and is repeated at EP! This arrangement will continue with the same chapters appointed for MP and EP until the 23rd where Joshua 10 is appointed at MP and Joshua 11 follows at EP. On the next day we have Joshua 12 at MP, then Joshua 20 at EP. The rest of the book finishes out regularly by EP of the 26th.

So, what’s happened is this: Joshua 13-19 has been excised. This is the section that describes in mind-numbing detail which families and clans of the Children of Israel get which cities and plots to boundary stones and such as they settle in the land.  However, dropping seven chapters would wreak havoc on the carefully constructed pattern for the rest of the year. In order to drop this section with a minimal impact to the cycle, the more overtly edifying historical chapters were recycled.

There is also some fancy-footing around Ezra and Nehemiah (referred to here as 1 and 2 Esdras). In the 1549 lectionary, Ezra begins at EP of May 29th and the two books are read straight through with Nehemiah 13 ending at EP of June 9th; Esther begins on the 10th. In the 1552 lectionary, 2 Kings 25 is reduplicated for EP on the 29th and Ezra begins at MP on the 30th.  Ezra 4 is appointed for both May 30th EP and June 1st MP. Ezra 5 is read at EP on June 1st, then chs 6-8 are duplicated at both MP and EP until Ezra 9 and 10 appear at MP and EP of June 5th. The subsequent reading of Nehemiah skips chs 2, 7, and 10-12. With these omissions, Nehemiah 13 falls at EP of June 9th; Esther begins on the 10th.

In short, Ezra is artificially expanded so as to skip the enumeration of peoples and tribes who returned from exile in Nehemiah. I do find odd the choice to skip ch 2 which is a narrative about the granting of permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; if anything I’d expect the dropping of ch 3 which details which people are to rebuild which sections of the wall.

Both of these changes (i.e., to Joshua and Nehemiah) are retained in the 1559 lectionary.

2 thoughts on “Corrections to Lectionary Posts

  1. James

    Great posts, Derek! I find the development of Anglican Office Lectionaries to be a fascinating topic, and one that I am becoming more keen on. This past Advent, after completing a year with the 1922 lectionary, I began using the original 1662, and made my own tables using more modern citation conventions for maximum legibility. I compared three different copies to ensure accuracy, and IIRC, found at least three discrepancies. I also compared it to the Table of Lessons found in the 1611 AV, assuming it to be that of the 1552 BCP. Using the 1662 BCP with its original Table of Lessons, M and EP usually requires 30-45 minutes (reading at a leisurely pace) and sometimes an hour for MP on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays when the Litany is read. Quicunque Vult may add a negligible amount of time when the Prayer Book directs its use. It is quite different than other lectionaries I have used (original 1928 US, 1922/27 English and 1979 US. I do not bounce around, so I have had quite thorough exposure to these three lectionaries over the years. I think that I favor 1922, but a strength I see in the 1979 is that it is easy to come away with a particular thought in context with its shorter readings, and I have an odd sentimental attachment to the Daily Office Book (though I can hardly bring myself to use it, I pick it up from time to time to read the additional Canticles and thumb through the Collects and Psalter).

  2. Derek Olsen

    It *is* a fascinating topic, James! I’m looking forward to what I find when I get to the 1662 and its successive revisions. I use the ’79 to stay in synch with my parish, but may try experimenting with the others for a stretch.

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