Richard D. McCall
“Richard McCall takes what is perhaps the most obvious yet most neglected element in the liturgy, its dramatic character, and gives it superb theoretical substance. Liturgical studies can have many starting points but the most neglected of all is Jesus’ command: Do this in memory of me. While the ‘this’ can be codified into rubrics, the essence of the command, i.e., the ‘do’ in ‘Do this’, is that it must be performed. Dr. McCall deftly and brilliantly explores the
nature of such performance and its implications for liturgical studies. In this, he has advanced the field significantly.” —Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
“Richard McCall’s Do This is an insightful work of scholarship that brings the tools of performance studies to bear on the doing of liturgical action. McCall moves freely between nascent church dramas, Aristotle’s Poetics, liturgical theology, and historical
reconstructions of medieval liturgy. Paralleling recent work in performance and cultural studies, McCall understands that liturgy is first and foremost a performed event in a particular context—not a text or theology.” —Troy Messenger, Union Theological Seminary
“In this splendid contribution to liturgical theology, Richard McCall provides an excellent analysis of liturgical memorial through the lens of performance theory. In the course of the book McCall constructs a profound account of the liturgy as Trinitarian theology.” —John F. Baldovin, S.J., Weston Jesuit School of Theology
In this ambitious work, McCall follows the rise of dramatic interpretation of the early Christian liturgy from its beginnings through such elements as costumes, interpretative text, and gesture. He then examines the development of performance theory, focusing on the work of Victor Turner and Richard Schechner. Three views of liturgical theology, especially that of Aidan Kavanagh’s, set the stage to construct a definition of liturgy as a mode of performance.
McCall brings Aristotle’s categories in the Poetics to bear on liturgical action. In the final chapter he analyzes the Gregorian Sacramentary and the actions described in Ordo Romanus I.
“McCall highlights the dramatic character of liturgy in this book, giving it theoretical substance. ‘Liturgy as performance’ is not intended here in the informal sense panned by ecclesiastical authorities as a widespread popular misinterpretation of liturgical ‘active participation.’ Rather, McCall is concerned with theory, much of it philosophical—from Aristotle to Bakhtin.” — Choice
“. . . This is a valuable contribution to the corpus of liturgical studies.” — Church Times
“Far from being an apologia pro ostentatione liturgica, this is a serious attempt to explore performance as ‘a many faceted model for approaching all of that reality which can only be, for human beings, symbolic and enacted in our institutions, relationships, art and rituals’. . . . It is the most important book I have read in liturgical studies in the last five years.” — Worship
“McCall has done all those who toil in that field a great service by showing that a non text-based methodology can be brought to bear on liturgy as an event. He deliberately tries to avoid any reliance on text to understand liturgy as performed, although he appeals to it here and there. Many have tried to develop a methodology, for the liturgical event, but McCall has largely succeeded.” — Theoforum
“Do This . . . is a valuable contribution to the conversation about worship that is ongoing between practitioners and scholars. Professors who teach advanced courses in liturgical studies will find their reading lists enriched by McCall’s foray into the drama that is liturgical enactment.” — Anglican Theological Review