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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: MM "Glass"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0684.  Thursday, 19 June 1997.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Jun 1997 20:56:47 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0680  Re: MM "Glass"

[2]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Jun 1997 08:13:30 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0680 Re: MM "Glass"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Jun 1997 20:56:47 -0700
Subject: 8.0680  Re: MM "Glass"
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0680  Re: MM "Glass"

Ron Ward points out, quite rightly that glass would have been physically
almost unavailable to Paul, and certainly unlikely to be his metaphor.
I don't mean to dispute this, but I just want to point out that the KJV
would nevertheless form an intertext to Isabella's phrase.  An equally
interesting line of research would be to uncover what other contemporary
Bibles (say, Tyndale, Douai) do with the verse I cited, , and whether
any of the contemporary sermons and homilies expound it.

Cheers, and I'd be interested to see what anyone uncovers.

Sean.

[Editor's Note: I looked up the passage in my modern-spelling Tyndale
(Yale UP, 1989), "Now we see in a glass even in a dark speaking . . ."
and in my Geneva facsimile (Pilgrim Press, 1989), "For now we {s}ee
through a gla{ss}e darkly . . ."  The Geneva also contains this note:
"The applying of the {s}imilitude of our childhood to this pre{s}ent
life, wherein wee darkely behold heauenly things, according to the
{s}mall mea{s}ure of light which is giuen vs, through the
vnder{s}tanding of tongues, and hearing the teachers and mini{s}ters of
the Church: of our mans age and {s}trength, to that heauenly and
eternall life, wherein when wee behold God him{s}elfe pre{s}ent, and are
lightened with his full and perfect light, to what purpo{s}e {s}hould
wee de{s}ire the voice of man, and tho{s}e worldly things which are
mo{s}t imperfect?" HMC]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Jun 1997 08:13:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0680 Re: MM "Glass"
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0680 Re: MM "Glass"

Dear Friends,

I think Sean Lawrence quite closely touches the glassy essence of
"glassy essence" as a reference to the "outer" or visible man. Saint
Paul didn't write "glass darkly," he wrote "esoptron en-ainigma."
"Esoptron," which broadly means "to gaze into a place" was the word for
a mirror-which in Paul's day were made of polished metal, not glass. In
"en-ainigma" our root of "obscurity" is recognizable. My pal, Ansgar
Kelly, the formidable medievalist, thinks Paul somehow means "to look
through a mirror to the dark world on its far side," ala Alice's venture
through the looking-glass.

The KJV uses "glass" as polished metal mirror in Job 37:18; Isa. 3:23; 1
Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:18; Jas. 1:23. Also, John describes a sea like
glass (Rev. 4:6 and 15:2), i.e. calm. And in Rev 21:18,21 he describes a
new Jerusalem with streets of gold as clear as glass, i.e. pure. But
Shakespeare's knew Tyndale's translation (in one or another of its
incarnations), not James's, and one needs to exercise caution before
relying on the KJV. In point: 1 Cor 13 ends with "charity" in the KJV
and "love" in Geneva.

I have been thinking that Shakespeare parodies Paul a good deal in his
works 1599 - 1603. 1 Cor 12 seems to lurk behind the "Tell me good
Brutus, Can you see your face?" exchange in JC 1.2, and Feste's closing
ditty in TN 5.2: "When that I was and a little tiny boy . . . But when I
came to man's estate, etc." I'd be glad to hear from anyone who's been
thinking along these lines.

All the best,
Steve Sohmer
 

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