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A book containing portions (pericopes) of Scripture appointed to be read at public worship on particular days of the year, or one listing such lessons. The practice of reading extracts from the Scriptures is found in the synagogue and in the early church. Systems of lessons began to appear from the third century, and appropriate readings for differing churches' ecclesiastical calendars followed. Western Protestant churches followed the emphasis of the Roman Church upon Advent, but Lutheran and Anglican lectionaries now differ widely from present Roman Catholic usage. The Anglican lectionary of 1871 governs the lessons read at Morning and Evening Prayer. There is an alternative revised Table (1922). Further revisions following in 1944, 1946, and 1956 illustrate a general determination to make the lectionary more meaningful for the present day.

LECTIONARY. A book of Scripture readings for worship services. The term is used esp. of Gr. MSS in which the Scriptures are written, not in the order in which they generally appear, but in sections for reading in church services. They are of great value in NT textual studies.