Review by Choice Review
This book invites immediate comparison with The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, ed. by J.G. Davies (CH, Feb'87). First published as Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (CH, Apr'73), this has since become a standard reference tool, whose in-depth, scholarly, signed articles include selective bibliographies. It surveys the entire field of worship; and although oriented toward the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, it includes articles on all major denominations. Lang's Dictionary of the Liturgy is an entirely different sort of work. With a specifically Roman Catholic focus, it includes hundreds of short entries in a dictionary arrangement with good cross-referencing. The style is popular and thus accessible to unsophisticated lay users. It is not a scholar's tool and definitely not a substitute for the New Westminster Dictionary. The articles are uneven in quality, sometimes didactic, and the author is eager to bring his readers into step with the new directives of the post-Vatican II Church. What the book does offer (at an amazingly low price for a well-printed, hardcover volume) is a wealth of material covering almost every conceivable liturgical term one might encounter. Many of the terms (say, "consecration of virgins," or the Pope's "fanon," or liturgical "faculties") are otherwise hard to track down without extensive searching. The appendixes include a handy chronology of liturgical history, a complete calendar of major and minor feasts, and the Latin text of the Mass. A welcome addition to most collections, providing it is used as a popular, ready-reference tool rather than a scholar's dictionary. -L. D. Jordahl, Luther College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.