In Fixing the Liturgy, Claire Taylor Jones opens a window into the daily practice of medieval liturgy, uncovering the astounding breadth of knowledge, the deep expertise, and the critical thinking required just to coordinate each day’s worship. Focusing on the Dominican order, Jones shows how changes in medieval piety and ritual legislation disrupted the fine-tuned system that Dominicans instituted in the thirteenth century. World-historical events, including the Great Western Schism and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, had an impact on the practice of liturgy even in individual communities. Through a set of never-before-studied records from Dominican convents, Jones shows how women’s communities reacted and adapted to historical change and how their surviving sources inform our understanding of the friars’ lives, as well. Tracing the narrative up to the eve of the Protestant Reformation, this study culminates in a multi-media reconstruction of the sounds, sights, and smells of worship in the rightfully famous southern German convent of St. Katherine in Nuremberg.
Fixing the Liturgy makes this late medieval world accessible through clear introductions to medieval liturgy and to the Dominican order’s governance. Jones illustrates how Dominican friars and sisters reconciled their order’s rules with their own concrete circumstances and with the changing world around them. On the way, a new history of the medieval Dominican liturgy unfolds, told from the perspective of women’s communities.
Claire Taylor Jones is William Payden Associate Professor of German at the University of Notre Dame and author of Ruling the Spirit: Women, Liturgy, and Dominican Reform in Late Medieval Germany, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
"In this magnificent and well-documented study, Claire Taylor Jones uses a rich assembly of unmined liturgical sources, in Latin and in the vernacular, to reimagine the lives of medieval religious women in southern Germany. The book will be crucial reading for historians as well as for scholars in religious studies, gender studies and languages and literature."—Margot E. Fassler, author of Cosmos, Liturgy, and the Arts in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard’s Illuminated “Scivias”
"A pleasure to read. Claire Taylor Jones’s careful, attentive analysis of manuscripts never before studied in this manner offers readers a primer on the Dominican liturgy as well as a substantial contribution to scholarly understanding of how medieval liturgists thought about their decisions, how they exchanged ideas with others, and how they found ways to fight for their local customs."—Anne Bagnall Yardley, Drew Theological School
"This book will not only be a useful guide to scholars interested in the history of the Dominican order, especially its female branch, or in the liturgy more generally; it will also serve as a helpful reference for nonspecialists and students seeking initiation into the dense thickets of medieval liturgical practice, which to the uninitiated can seem like an impenetrable jungle of complexities and inconsistencies. Claire Taylor Jones’s exemplary scholarship and painstaking analysis often leave one feeling that one is eavesdropping, as it were, on the women to whom it fell to interpret the mandates they were given and to adapt them to their own local circumstances."—Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Harvard University