The Eucharistic Prayer is the most central and distinctive form of Christian public prayer apart from the Lord's Prayer itself. It gradually evolved into fixed forms during the early Christian centuries, and the Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari is almost certainly the oldest such prayer still in regular use. Dr Gelston's study presents a critical edition of the medieval Syriac text of this ancient Eucharistic Prayer. The text, which is
eclectic, is accompanied by a select critical apparatus and a translation, and is followed by textual notes on the variants in the apparatus. The detailed commentary, accessible to those who do not read
Syriac, is concerned chiefly with literary-critical and historical questions such as the parallels with the Maronite anaphora Sharar which provide a particular opportunity to detect possible later accretions and modifications. A tentative reconstruction of the Prayer as it may have been at about the beginning of the fifth century is offered in an appendix, and an introduction sets the Prayer in its wider context.
`a working text, based on eclectic principles, of the medieval anaphora. He has drawn extensively on the manuscript tradition listed by Macomber and Webb. The book also provides an Introduction, a Commentary and a reconstruction of the text as it may have been at an earlier period. ... This is a very well balanced and judicious study and Gelston resists the temptation to speculate unnecessarily. ... Gelston has provided scholar and student alike with a most
useful text and study of this ancient eucharistic prayer'.
`This is a judicious study, clearly presented in a balanced manner, and providing for the student and scholar alike the current state of study of this anaphora in the overall context of anaphoral studies...The study is a significant contribution to the debate on east Syrian liturgy.
Bryan D Spinks, Journal of Theological Studies
`most welcome, for it not only provides an excellent survey of the state of scholarly discussion concerning the anqituity and structure of the anaphora, but it also offers a new edition, based on a collation of a judicious selection of manuscripts ... translation and commentary ... This is a book from which all with an interest in the early history of Christian worship will profit.
The Expository Times
`Gelston's book is a standard resource of liturgical scholarship.
International Review of Biblical Studies, Vol. 38 1991/92
`Gelston's is a very balanced study, presenting the current state of scholarship regarding this eucharistic prayer.
Bryan D. Spinks, Sobornost, Volume 14, number 2, 1992
`This book is an important work of detailed and careful scholarship, well-presented, and of great use not only to the advanced Syriac scholar but also to the serious student of liturgical history.
Jill Pinnock, Theological Book Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, October 1993
`The advantage of the present text is that it gives us the most substantive critical text yet produced; this is the heart of the volume. In addition to the critical text (in beautifully reproduced eastern Syriac) and apparatus, Gelston provides a translation, a commentary, and a proposed reconstruction (in Syriac and in English) of what the original form of the text may have been. This is an important work of scholarship that should be found in any
representative collection of liturgical texts and also in any library that purports to give a good coverage of the oriental churches, their history, practices, and doctrines.
G.W. Woolfenden, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, Speculum - A Journal of Medieval Studies, Jul 1994
`His eclectic text, resting upon evidence from eighty-six manuscripts, the earliest of which dates from the tenth century, is accompanied by a select critical apparatus and an English translation, followed by textual notes on the variants in the apparatus... This monograph represents careful and painstaking work, and Gelston's judgements expressed on puzzling problems are balanced and illuminating.
Bruce M. Metzger, Theology and Religious Reflection
`This work is a very useful tool for anyone interested in the Anaphora of AM. The translation given by Gelston is generally speaking accurate. As regards the commentary, it excels in its clarity and its prudence. Above all, however, the author's methodological consistency deserves to be specially mentioned ... When dealing with the less controversial passages of AM, the author makes consistent use of sound principles and arrives at very acceptable and even
G. Rouwhorst, Catholic Theological University of Utrecht, Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1, 1995
`It highlights the different perceptions of what "should" go into an authentic anaphora. These, and many other issues are carefully and judiciously handled in Anthony Gelston's edition, the first such undertaking with full Syriac and English versions, and appended notes ... It is difficult to fault such a work as this ... a work of great erudition and reflection, on which Dr Gelston is to be congratulated.'
Scottish Journal of Theology
`we have here the latest guide to a ruinous country, indicating ancient stones which speak of a great liturgical building preceding many later edifices'
Martijn Schrama O.S.A., Bijdrageb, tijdschrift voor filosofie en theologie 57 (1996) nr.1