For those who enjoy biographies and love books, what could be better than a good biography…of a great book? Princeton’s Lives of Great Religious Books series promises many happy hours learning more about old friends and making new acquaintances, from Augustine’s Confessions to Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison, from the book of Genesis, to the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Alan Jacobs’s biography of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) certainly provides a stimulating introduction to a fascinating life. In seven highly readable chapters, he takes us from the BCP’s conception and birth in the mid-sixteenth century to its dotage in the early twenty-first. Throughout, he demonstrates enviable skill in simplifying complex material—covering several centuries and half the globe, and integrating multiple disciplines—without being simplistic.