PG 484 Liturgy: Ritual, Theological and Historical Approaches

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Module Level


Time Allowance

Obligatory Seminar attendance.: Ten Two hour seminars Tuesday 14:10 - 15:55. Beginning 6th October 2020.


The course will consist of input and class discussions based on the assigned readings and lectures. Three written assignments will sharpen critical analysis and research skills in the field.

Module Aims

The course will provide the ritual, theological, and historical foundations for understanding the evolution and development of the Christian celebration. Participants will study major moments in the historical development of the liturgy in both East and West from the New Testament era with its Jewish foundations to the present. Students will be introduced to the sources for liturgical study, both written and architectural, and to classic and new methods in liturgical research and sacramental theology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will be introduced to the study of the ritual dimensions and historical sources of liturgical celebration and will begin to interpret these elements in their cultural and theological contexts.
  • Participants will come to recognise the theological issues in liturgical texts, ritual celebration, and the setting of worship.
  • Participants will come to know the principles guiding the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and to appreciate their relationship to the liturgical tradition.
  • Participants will gain a competence with the various methods used in the study of liturgy /sacramental theology.


  • Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Louis-Marie Chauvet, Symbol and Sacrament. A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, trans. Madeleine Beaumont Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1995.
  • Juliette Day, Reading the Liturgy: An exploration of texts in Christian worship, London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
  • Andrew B. McGowan, Ancient Christian Worship. Early Church Practices in Social, Historical, and Theological Perspective, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.
  • Nathan D. Mitchell, Meeting Mystery: Liturgy, Worship, Sacraments, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2006.
  • Liam M. Tracey and Thomas R. Whelan, editors, Serving Liturgical Renewal. Pastoral and Theological Questions, Dublin: Veritas, 2015.