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Shakespeare and the Geneva Bible: The Biblical Presence in Shakespeare
Reformation 21 ^ | Leland Ryken

Posted on 03/26/2010 1:08:30 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege

While mainstream Shakespeare scholarship has marginalized the biblical presence in Shakespeare, scholars who pay attention to the data know better. One scholar speaks of biblical phrases and images as "an echo-chamber of the imagination" for Shakespeare. [8] Another speaks of how a lifetime of acquaintance with the Bible provided rhythms and phrases for Shakespeare "in accordance with laws of association too subtle for description;" this same scholar adds, "Of course, the Bible was the . . . most discussed book of the day: it was of all books the best seller, especially the Genevan Bible," forming the "most constant and continuing influence and inspiration" for Shakespeare the playwright. [9]

Secondly, I believe that the pervasive presence of the Bible in Shakespeare's plays refutes two common fashions on the scholarly scene today. One is the myth that Shakespeare is a secular author. On the contrary, the biblical presence sends a signal about the intellectual allegiance of Shakespeare's plays...Secondly, it is not simply the English Bible but the Geneva Bible...The claim that Shakespeare was a closet Catholic has recently received a prominence that is without warrant, and Shakespeare's use of what was for the Catholics a forbidden book is one evidence among many that Shakespeare was Protestant in his religious orientation.

Now...I will begin with the most useful piece of methodology that exists, namely, the distinction that C. S. Lewis bequeathed between the Bible as the source for a writer and the Bible as an influence: "A Source gives us things to write about; an Influence prompts us to write in a certain way." [7] The Bible was not a source for Shakespeare; he did not take story material from the Bible the way Milton did. Instead we see how the Bible influenced Shakespeare in his handling of his chosen subject matter...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Books/Literature; Religion
KEYWORDS: bible; godsgravesglyphs; literature; shakespeare

1 posted on 03/26/2010 1:08:31 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
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To: CondoleezzaProtege

2 posted on 03/26/2010 1:33:18 PM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: onedoug


3 posted on 03/26/2010 1:35:03 PM PDT by stylecouncilor (What Would Jim Thompson Do?)
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To: CondoleezzaProtege

This kind of Shakespeare scholarship is a little bit like prehistoric archeology. They will find a boar’s hair at a dig site and declare that festivals at the equinox were held with suckling pigs as the main course by early man. It would be too dull to report that there was a boar’s hair found at a dig site, or that there are arguably some similarities in cadence or whatever with one version of the Bible and Shakespeare’s writing.

4 posted on 03/26/2010 1:40:09 PM PDT by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: Woebama

Forsouth, get lost, you boar me!

5 posted on 03/26/2010 2:07:30 PM PDT by STD (Sorry Islam-Obama's Mounted the Red Horse Now)
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To: CondoleezzaProtege

I took a quiz once that asked which saying was from the Bible and which from Shakespeare. It was tough, but it turned out that many of the quotes from the Bard were easily connected to verses in the Bible.

6 posted on 03/26/2010 2:24:01 PM PDT by Jvette
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To: stylecouncilor

We know the drill by now.

Incidentally, ISC is doing Othello and Much Ado in Griffith Park’s Old Zoo this summer, claiming the old venue just too crowded. We’ll see.

“Shall we shog?”

7 posted on 03/26/2010 3:03:14 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: nickcarraway

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There's been a lot written about Shakespeare's having been, for example, a closet Roman Catholic. In the 18th century a handwritten book was found in the attic of a house formerly owned by John Shakespeare (Will's father), and it was a reaffirmation of Catholic faith; however, the book was subsequently lost or destroyed, meaning it can't now be examined, so it may have been just a tall tale. Kinda puts the kibosh on the idea that neither Shakespeare could read / write though, eh?

There's at least as much (probably more) paganism in Shakespeare, and like all his writing, it doesn't say much about what he really thought about things. He incorporated the death in childhood of his only son most poignantly in a sonnet, and wrote at least two plays (Lear and The Tempest) about father-daughter relationships.

"Measure for Measure" ends with a sister giving up her vows to get married.

pagan references in Shakespeare
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · LiveScience · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
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· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·

8 posted on 03/29/2010 5:05:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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9 posted on 03/29/2010 5:44:24 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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