The introductory chapter explains the general character of the Book of Common Prayer as a set of liturgies, scripts for enacting corporate worship. It suggests one important sense in which it has functioned as a sacred text by forming personal identities and communities of faith within a tradition of religious belief and practice that has come to be known as Anglican. After an overview of the contents and organization of the twelve chapters that follow, the introduction points out the deliberate limitations of the whole book, explains certain conventions, including the point of reference for sorting out different texts that bear the title Book of Common Prayer, and defines several basic terms that are used throughout.
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