Spangenberg 1545 and the Lutheran Liturgical Tradition

In the course of the Lutheran Missal Project, the contents of around 40 missals and other liturgical books will be catalogued. To paraphrase George Orwell, every one of these missals is unique, but some are more unique than others. This description is particularly apt in the case of one of the books in question: CantionesContinue reading “Spangenberg 1545 and the Lutheran Liturgical Tradition”

Tradition: Accidental or Intentional?

Every church has it own unique traditions. For example, in one of the churches that I pastor, the Slovak families eat a special flat wafer called “holy bread” during the Christmas dinner. No one seems to know how this tradition got started. Some traditions arise purely by chance of the times. If you’ve visited AmishContinue reading “Tradition: Accidental or Intentional?”

Medieval Manuscripts

The missals of the late 15th and early 16th centuries present several difficulties to the curious but otherwise typical 21st-century reader. First, they are written in Latin, a language with no native speakers. Second, printing technology was still in its infancy, making the early manuscripts with their Gothic script and lack of white space difficultContinue reading “Medieval Manuscripts”

Narrowing the Field

If we attempted to include every extant pre-Reformation missal in the pool of sources for the The Lutheran Missal, our grandchildren would likely be the ones to finish the task. In the Latin missals available to us, the combined index of sanctoral masses yields a staggering 100,000 entries—one for each mass. It was immediately clearContinue reading “Narrowing the Field”


In The Lutheran Liturgy, Dr. Reed mentions that he had physical access to three pre-Reformation missals of Germany: Nuremberg 1484, Bamberg 1498, and Constance 1505 (p. 463). The missals were housed in the Krauth Memorial Library at Philadelphia and supplied the historic basis for the Common Service. In this regard the internet has changed ourContinue reading “Usuarium”