An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Summary of the Law, The

The Summary of the Law includes the two commandments that call for the love of God and the love of neighbor. These commandments appear separately in the OT (Dt 6:5; Lv 19:18). Although there is some precedent in pre-Christian Judaism for bringing these two commandments together, Jesus was apparently the first to formulate them precisely in this way as a summary of all the requirements of the Law (Mk 12:29-31). The Summary of the Law was first introduced as a substitute for the decalogue in the Nonjurors' liturgy of 1718. It was taken into the Scottish liturgy of 1764, and from there it was adopted by the first American Prayer Book of 1789 as an alternative to the decalogue. It is retained in Rite 1 of the BCP and it is an option in the Penitential Order of both Rites I and II. The Summary of the Law is stated in the Catechism relative to the New Covenant (BCP, p. 851).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.