New Release: Ancient Christian Worship

Cover ArtAncient Christian Worship introduces the origins of Christian worship and illuminates the importance of ancient worship practices for contemporary Christianity. Andrew McGowan, a leading scholar of early Christian liturgy, takes a fresh approach to understanding how Christians came to worship in the distinctive forms still familiar today.

Deftly and expertly processing the bewildering complexity of the ancient sources into lucid, fluent exposition, McGowan sets aside common misperceptions to explore the roots of Christian ritual practices–including the Eucharist, baptism, communal prayer, preaching, Scripture reading, and music–in their earliest recoverable settings. Students of Christian worship and theology as well as pastors and church leaders will value this work.


“This is the book that I wish I had written, but Andrew McGowan has done it so much better….Anyone wanting a reliable and comprehensive introduction to the practices of the early Christians must start here.” – Paul Bradshaw, University of Notre Dame

“A clear and beautifully written introduction to ancient Christian worship….This work justifiably will be cherished by students and teachers alike for generations to come.” – Robin Jensen, Vanderbilt University

“A comprehensive introduction to the worship life of early Christians….McGowan covers an impressive range of primary materials and deftly sifts through the scholarly debates surrounding them, preparing an easily accessible feast for anyone interested in the origins and multifold forms of early Christian liturgical practice.” – Harold W. Attridge, Yale Divinity School

“Provides pastors, students, and interested readers with a lively, detailed account of how Christians ate together, prayed, read Scripture, and celebrated with song and dance from New Testament times to the fourth-century basilica churches.” – Pheme Perkins, Boston College


Andrew B. McGowanAndrew B. McGowan (PhD, University of Notre Dame), an Anglican priest, is president and dean of the Berkeley Divinity School and the J. L. Caldwell McFaddin and Rosine B. McFaddin Professor of Anglican Studies and Pastoral Theology at Yale Divinity School. He previously served as warden of Trinity College, University of Melbourne, and is the author of Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals.

For more information on Ancient Christian Worship, click here.