Liturgy scholar; b. Koblenz-Lützel, Sept. 27, 1886;d. Herstelle-Weser, March 28, 1948. Casel became a Benedictine monk in 1905; studied at Maria Laach, Rome, and Bonn; and earned doctoral degrees in both theology and philology. He was spiritual director for the Benedictine sisters at Herstelle from 1922 until his death during the Easter Vigil, 1948.
Casel attained prominence as a liturgical scholar through his editorship of the Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft. His special achievement, however, was to bring out the meaning of liturgy as a celebration of the mysteries of Christ and His Church: the ritual and sacramental deed of the Church makes present Christ's act of salvation.
Casel obtained his first insights from the liturgy and the Fathers of the Church, whose traditional teachings he wished merely to hand on faithfully; but he took formal elements also from the history of religions, which, especially the Hellenistic mystery cults, were a sort of preparation for Christ. Although he in no way intended to dispute the uniqueness of Christian cult he encountered opposition. In the course of the ensuing controversy Casel perfected his conception of the liturgy, especially through the inclusion of scriptural teaching and a more positive evaluation of Old Testament worship. After Casel's death, his rich insights were further developed. Thus his doctrine, with light nuances and corrections, became one of the most valuable elements of contemporary theology on the liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Church. (see mystery theology.)
His principal works are: Das Gedächtnis des Herrn in der altchristlichen Liturgie (Freiburg 1918), Die Liturgie als Mysterienfeier (Freiburg 1922), The Mystery of Christian Worship (Westminster, Md. 1962), Faitesceci en mémoire de moi (Paris 1962), La Fête de Pâques dans l'Eglise des Pères (Paris 1963), Das Mysterium des Kommenden (Paderborn 1952), Das Mysterium des Kreuzes (Paderborn 1954), and Mysterium der Ekklesia (Mainz 1961). He also published numerous original contributions in the Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft (Münster 1921–41).
Bibliography: t. filthaut, Die Kontroverse über die Mysterienlehre (Warendorf 1947). Maison-Dieu 14 (1948) 1–106. Das Paschamysterium. P. Odo Casel zum Gedüchtnis, Liturgie und Mönchtum 3 (1949). a. mayer et al., eds., Vom christlichen Mysterium (Düsseldorf 1951), containing a complete bibliography. t. kampmann, Gelebter Glaube (Warendorf 1957) 105–115. a. schilson, Theologie als Sakramententheologie: Die Mysterientheologie Odo Casels, 2nd ed. (Mainz 1987). a. schilson, "Die Gegenwart des Ursprungs: Überlegungen zur bleibenden Aktualität der Mysterientheologie Odo Casels," Liturgisches Jahrbuch 43(1993) 6–29. m.-j. krahe, "Der Herr ist der Geist": Studien zur Theologie Odo Casels, 2 vols. (St. Ottilien 1986). a. a. hϵussling, "Odo Casel – noch von Aktualität? Eine Rückschau in eigener Sache aus Anla§ des hundertsten Geburtstages des ersten Herausgebers," Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft 28 (1986) 357–387. a. grozier, Odo Casel – Künder des Christusmysteriums, ed. Abt-Herwegen-Institut der Abtei Maria Laach (Regensburg 1986).
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