Articles by Samuel L. Bray

Samuel L. Bray is a professor of law at Notre Dame. He is a coauthor, with John F. Hobbins, of Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators (2017); and a coeditor, with Drew Nathaniel Keane, of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition (forthcoming 2021).


Ashes in a Time of Plague

“Thy mercy is over all thy works, and therefore also over us, who alas by our sins have defaced thy Workmanship, but thou canst repair as well as make; and thy mercy is equal to thy might.”—Thomas Comber[1] Earlier this year, Ash Wednesday came and went without most Americans thinking of the coronavirus. Soon afterwards…

Revisiting “The Shape Fallacy”

This piece is co-published with the Davenant Institute. You can also see it on their blog, here. In a response to my recent essay “The Shape Fallacy: Reconsidering the Book of Common Prayer as Text,” the Rev. Ben Jefferies offers hearty disagreement and eloquent rejoinder. These are always welcome. Jefferies calls my essay “an all-out assault…

On the Liturgical Resumptive

One characteristic of the Book of Common Prayer, and of liturgical prose generally, is repetition, often repetition with variation. Repetition has many purposes. It is an aid to memory. It makes our worship adhere more closely to biblical patterns, for the Scriptures are shot through with repetition with variation.((Samuel L. Bray and John F. Hobbins, Genesis…

O Come, Let Us Bowdlerize

The Venite, Psalm 95 (Psalm 94 in the Vulgate), has been part of daily prayer in the Western Church for at least fifteen centuries. It is prescribed for Matins in the Rule of St. Benedict. It was likely already in regular use, as can be seen from the Western Church’s retention of a Latin text…

(c) 2019 North American Anglican