In the past hundred years the study of liturgy has made considerable progress both in the theological study of what constitutes liturgy as well as in historical research and the edition of texts.
To appreciate the latter it is sufficient to open, for example, Joseph Jungmann’s Missarum Sollemnia. While the essential content of this work remains an important source of information, it is no longer possible to use his patristic and liturgical references. The edition of Migne is constantly cited for the Fathers, for instance for the Sermons of St. Leo, the criticai edition of which in volumes 138 and J38A of CCL postdates by some years even the most recent editions of Missarum Sollemnia. For liturgical sources as well, and in particular for the Ordines, Migne is used. One can say that the great majority of his references can no longer be used today. One can easily imagine the efforts demanded on the part of researchers in earlier epochs. One can consider, to take one example, the study of the sacrament of Orders. How did one find the liturgical books, the obviously indispensable sources for tracking the evolution of these rites? There was no easily accessible edition of the Apostolic Tradition, attributed rightly or wrongly to Hippolytus of Rome. No sound edition of, the sacramentaries was at hand, and besides, how were they to be situated historically? There was no easily accessible edition of the Pontificals, in particular of the Romano-Germanic Pontifical. What tedious searchings and what time was taken up in looking for these texts scattered in diverse collections and not always for sure!
It is also necessary to go beyond the hypotheses so often repeated those that tend to become realities in the subconscious of liturgists. Many can recall the astonishment and a certain amazement provoked .by the publication of the book of Antoine Chavasse on the Gelasian Sacramentary in which he introduced a revolution in the sequence accepted up to then for the great sacramentaries and in the fact that Rome knew simultaneously one liturgy in the region of the Lateran and another in the region of St. Peter in Chains. It took courage o n the author’ s p art not to accept as fact what was sai d so repeatedly.
To return to the domain of texts, until only a few years ago one hesitated to make use of the documentation, copious though it is, of Edmond Martène as long as there were serious doubts about localization and especially dating. It was necessary to await the patient and competent work of A.G. Martimort so that one can now consult these documents with profit. Over thirty-five years ago it was stili not easy to find in libraries a critical edition of the Veronensis or of the Old Gelasian Sacramentary, and one awaited with much patience that of the Gellone and Angoulême Sacramentaries. It was not simple to work with the Gregorian before J. Deshusses gave us his edition of the Gregorian and its forms. Invariably the redaction of the Supplement to the Hadrianum has been attributed to Alcuin; here again courage was needed to re-examine positions that seemed definitely secured. Even if not all liturgists now agree on Benedict of Aniane as its author, it is no longer possible to see in Alcuin the author of the Supplement. For the study of the Eucharistic Prayers, what gratitude we owe to A. Hänggi – I. Pahl’s edition of Prex eucharistica, useful not only for research but also for the pastoral employment of these prayers!
But all this is pertinent not only to the past. Stili today researchers cannot be content with what is always said. · This journal has previously set an example in this and it does it again in this first number of the new year 1992. Professar M. Metzger, in preparing his critical edition of the Apostolic Constitutions for «Sources chrétiennes», thinks he can call into question the ascription to Hippolytus of Rome of the important and often cited source, the Apostolic Tradition.
This journal publishes with gratitude and legitimate pride these researches an d i t wishes to open widely its doors to researchers. To be sure, it is no t easy to satisfy the desires of all and to maintain in the journal the equilibrium which has been handed down since its establishment. We thank again all our collaborators, known and undercover, such as the Secretary of the Journal, Ferdinando Cannicci, such as Fr. Ephrem Carr, exigent corrector of certain articles more tricky in their references. To all our gratitude and also our wish for your continued collaboration.