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The Divine Office in the Latin Middle AgesMethodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography$
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Rebecca A. Baltzer and Margot E. Fassler

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195124538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195124538.001.0001

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The Origins of the Western Office

The Origins of the Western Office

(p.63) 3 The Origins of the Western Office
The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages

James W. Mckinnon

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the change from private to public prayer hours from the emancipation of the Church under Constantine in 312; the Eastern monastic and cathedral Offices are surveyed and contrasted with the Western Office. Fundamental to the early monastic Office was the primary device adopted by the Egyptian monks of chanting the psalms continuously, in numerical order for extended periods of time. The psalmody of urban monasticism had a profound, indeed overwhelming, influence on the cathedral Office — it transformed the morning and evening Offices, and it filled the intervening hours of the day with additional Offices. The monastic concern with the precise apportionment of the Psalter is a peculiar phase of the broad liturgical movement towards fixity.

Keywords:   monasteries, public prayer, monastic Office, cathedral Office, psalmody, Egeria, Jerusalem, Western Office

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