Review: Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology?

Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology?Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology? by David W. Fagerberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I had read this book many years ago. Had I read it before or during my own liturgical studies (a term I may never use again!) my approach to matters liturgical would have been radically changed.

For any member of the Church, this book is a MUST read.

No longer is liturgy to be seen as something peripheral to the life of the Christian. Nor is it something that is a source of theological reflection. And liturgy cannot ever be just the Church at prayer. Liturgy, or leitourgia to use Fagerberg’s preferred term, is the very essence of the Church, the means by which the Christian faith is not only expressed but made real and accessible.

Drawing on the work of such esteemed predecessors as Alexander Schmemann and Aidan Kavanagh, David Fagerberg is determined to challenge the prevailing understanding of liturgy and its place in the Church. And succeeds in a way that is both engaging and accessible. Reading this book has challenged everything I thought I knew about the connection between theology and liturgy, and I doubt my future efforts in matters theological will every quite be the same.

From the back cover:

“Liturgical theology” is often a convenient label for any theology that has loosely to do with worship or Eucharist. In this innovative book, David Fagerberg distinguishes liturgical theology by asserting two characteristics: It is lex orandi (and so manifested in the Church’s historic rites) and theologia prima (and so the source of all secondary theology).

Liturgy is a place of steadfast encounter because it is the matrix where God, world, and humanity existentially interact. Therefore liturgy is where theological sources function precisely as sources. One becomes a theologian by being formed in the “grammar” of the liturgy.

The subject matter of this book is how the liturgical assembly makes theological adjustment to its encounter with God. Liturgy, as “theologia prima,” is therefore the basis for all theology, whether done by a believer in the pew, a monk in the cell, or an academic in the study.

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