Review: Ancient Christian Worship

Posted January 22, 2015 in Reading, Review / 0 Comments

Review: Ancient Christian WorshipAncient Christian Worship by Andrew B McGowan
Publisher: Baker Academic (2014)
eARC (320 pages)
Via: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: 2015 Alphabet Soup, Read 2015


This introduction to the origins of Christian worship illuminates the importance of ancient Christian worship practices for contemporary Christianity. Andrew McGowan, a leading scholar of early Christian liturgy, takes a fresh approach to understanding how Christians came to worship in the distinctive forms still familiar today. Deftly and expertly processing the bewildering complexity of the ancient sources into lucid, fluent exposition, he sets aside common misperceptions to explore the roots of Christian ritual practices–including the Eucharist, baptism, communal prayer, preaching, Scripture reading, and music–in their earliest recoverable settings. Students of Christian worship and theology as well as pastors and church leaders will value this work.

Find the book: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository

This is obviously not a light read. It is more of a scholarly work. In fact, I could have seen this book being used in some of my undergraduate courses. In the eARC, almost half of the book was footnotes/endnotes. This alone would scream scholarly work. And this is. This is the type of book that I spent four years reading for classes during my undergrad.

I liked that the majority of the sources used were the Church Fathers. I liked that for numerous reasons, one of which is that the Patristics are hard enough to understand literally in translation, let alone symbolically. Having them included in this book also gave room for McGowen to include analysis which helps immensely in understanding. It also helps that the pertinent parts of each are noted so that I didn’t have to read each of the Patristics in totality (which I did quite a bit of for school).

There are places in this book that made me want to track down the original source and whip out my Latin. This is mainly because I want to know more of the context than McGowan gives at times. This is probably just me wanting to know more which I admit happens quite a bit.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and it really made me think. I know this isn’t going to be a book for everyone. It is scholarly and I liked it.

Which Reading Challenges?

  • You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
  • Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge (A)


I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tagged as , , , ,