Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: August ::
Re: Shakespeare and KJV
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0745  Saturday, 8 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 7 Aug 1998 09:52:19 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Bible

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 07 Aug 1998 09:59:57 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare and KJV

[3]     From:   Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen  <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 07 Aug 1998 13:16:00 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva

[4]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 07 Aug 1998 10:51:35 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 7 Aug 1998 09:52:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Bible

Hasn't it been established that the bulk of the KJV is lifted from a
previous, contraband translation by a fellow named Tyndall?  That's my
understanding, but I'd like to hear from others who know more about
this.  It would have been a version around for at least 60 years before
King James convened his 54.  The first translator was burned at the
stake for daring to accomplish it, if my flawed memory serves me right.
So it's particularly telling that after much bashing about of brains,
the heretic's version wins out.

Andy White
Arlington, VA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 07 Aug 1998 09:59:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare and KJV

I think it is time to give Stephanie Hughes a break. I want to remind
the members of this list that history is exactly what Shakespeare calls
it, the "dark backward and abysm of time." While it seems to me most
probable that Shakespeare was not a member of the KJV translating team,
it is not at all "ludicrous," as one post put it, to consider the
question.  Actually, Ms. Hughes never claims that he was part of the
team; she simply wonders if it might have been so.  And to clear up some
facts, Shakespeare *did* study Greek in the last years of his grammar
school education. And he seems to have picked up both French and Italian
quite quickly, the former probably while renting a room from a French
family in 1599. Some members of this list emphasize that status and
class are two reasons why Shakespeare would never have been asked to be
part of the team. They may be right, but it is worth emphasizing that by
the late 1590s and certainly by the early 1600s Shakespeare had achieved
in the eyes of many what Spenser devoutly desired: to be considered the
"new Chaucer." He was not only the most famous playwright of his time
but considered so by both the general public and, probably, by many in
the upper echelons of society. Certainly some in the KJ court (including
James himself?) thought so.

That such a person might have been asked to read over the KJV is not
beyond the realm of possibility, and it is clearly wrong to dismiss the
possibility out of hand and label it "Oxfordian-type thinking," a term
apparently meant to shame the questioner and force her into silence. The
simple truth is that we do not know who the other 5 or 7 people on the
team were, and while the odds are against Shakespeare being one of them,
that's all that can be reasonably and responsibly said. Outrage at
merely raising the question, as Ms. Hughes has done, says more about
those who are outraged than about Ms. Hughes. apparently, they cannot
stand the psychic uncertainty of admitting that our knowledge of the
past is always contingent, always partial, and constantly being revised.
It would be nice if the past were a set of known facts, but it is not. I
remind those who think otherwise that at one time scholars thought that
Shakespeare's education was meager (it was quite substantial), that he
could not possibly have written part or all of the *Henry VI* plays,
that he had no hand at all in *Henry VIII* -- Spedding's article
suggesting that he did was met with great ridicule at first-and that
Shakespeare had no interest in publishing his plays and took no pains
revising them.  All of these once cherished beliefs now seem clearly
false.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that in 20 years or so
we will think it rather more (or much less) likely that Shakespeare was
part of the KJV team. So, a little more humility and a little less
pontificating, please.  Asking a sincere question should never meet with
anything but a polite, sincere response.

Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen  <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 07 Aug 1998 13:16:00 -0400
Subject: 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva

I am a little surprised that throughout this discussion no one has
mentioned that, despite the fact that there were 54 translators at work
on the project for several years, the King James Bible is still mostly
in the words of William Tyndale.

Lysbeth Em Benkert
Out on the Northern Plains

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 07 Aug 1998 10:51:35 -0700
Subject: 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0744  Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva

> Oh, the KJV.  Can't we have done with this, and give Ms. Hughes a break
> from grasping at straws, by just agreeing that the Earl of Oxford single
> handedly translated the King James Version of the Bible - even though he
> was long dead?

Too bad, I say, that it's okay to use Oxford's name to ridicule my point
of view, but not okay to respond to queries about, say, the relations
between Ophelia and Hamlet, with closely corresponding incidents in the
life of Oxford and his wife. If the latter isn't allowed, the former
shouldn't be either.

My point here is not frivolous, and it's based on a great deal of
thought and reading. It's also not unique to me, but has been put forth
any number of times over the years. The politics of the period was such
that many writers and translators used initials or anonymity in order to
publish. To take this one step farther into using standins is an
important thesis, and should be treated with respect, not jibes and
catcalls.

In any case, I made my point, and true to my promise when I joined this
list, I'll take it no farther.

Stephanie H.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.