In this article, Ong assesses a nineteenth-century edition of a medieval prayer book by Dan Jeremy (probably a priest or bishop), written around the year 1150.  This prayer book, which was probably written in French and translated into English in the late-fourteenth or early-fifteenth century, contains what Ong refers to as a "more sensitive" response to the Mass than what survives today, with the laity standing more often than they kneel and raising their hands during certain portions of the Mass.

In assessing the nineteenth-century edition of Dan Jeremy's book, retitled by its editor Thomas Frederick Simmons The Lay Folks' Mass Book, Ong asserts that Simmons was incorrect when he presents lay participation in the Mass as destined to die out.  Ong acknowledges that lay participation was certainly threatened during the Middle Ages by a variety of factors, including Charlemagne's imposition of ritual that discouraged contributions to the Mass by common people, an emphasis on the mystery of Christ, distancing the laity from Communion, the retaining of Latin in the Mass rather than the use of a vernacular language, and the presence of private devotional literature for the laity's use during the Mass.  Yet, the fact that lay participation exists at all in Dan Jeremy's book is, according to Ong, as sign of its resilience rather than its demise.
 

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