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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: January ::
Re: Psalm 46
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0125  Saturday, 23 January 1999.

[1]     From:   John Savage <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Jan 1999 09:58:34 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

[2]     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Jan 1999 08:23:27 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Jan 1999 13:06:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

[4]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Jan 1999 10:16:27 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Savage <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Jan 1999 09:58:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

>P.S - William and Elizabeth Friedman in their insightful "The
>Shakespearean Cyphers Examined" (1957) had already spotted the
>significance of The Great Bible to this question - pointing out that
>"the Great Bible of 1539 showed the same two words in the same
>positions" (p.183).

I have to admit, with all due humility, that this is quite convincing.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Jan 1999 08:23:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

The Friedman's were wrong.  The KJV is the >only< translation that puts
shake and speare in that 46th position.

As to Selah, it would be like counting Amen to be part of the Lord's
prayer.

And can anyone tell us what Shakespeare was doing during the time the
Bible was translated, there in Stratford?  Was he entirely idle?  The
man was writing 3 plays a year when he was in London.
Prolific.  But what did he do in Stratford?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Jan 1999 13:06:17 -0500
Subject: 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

All the evidence and arguments have been marshaled for both sides. What
we have now is repetition.  It is boring.  Please stop.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Jan 1999 10:16:27 -0800
Subject: Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        SHK 10.0121 Re: Psalm 46

John Savage seem to have decided to have a dialogue with me, so I
continue:

Me:
>>Shakespeare is hardly in the same category as
>>those who worked on the KJV in that we have most of their names and da
>>Bard ain't on the list.

Savage:
>With all good will, it appears we do not have all the names, so how do
>we know the Bard wasn't on the original list?

Me:
>>It has been demonstrated that everyone known on the translation team was
>>an expert in their field.

Savage:
>"Everyone known"-okay.  What about those on the team who are not known?
>(And by the way, Shakespeare was an expert in his field.)

John, you are acting irresponsibly by not going back to the SHAKSPER
archive and review the posts from last October/November (or whenever) as
I suggested.  This is clearly answered there.  True, we do not have all
the names, but we do have most.  100% of the names we have are of
scholars who know the subject.  There are NO poets amongst them.  It
would be a critical thinking error to claim we know no poet is on the
team, but the evidence is not just suggestive, it is weighty.

As was also pointed out last year, the idea of the establishment taking
on such low life riff raff as theater workers, for so they were
considered then, is laughable.  We may think of Shakespeare as a great
poet, but in that world, so what?

Me:
>>It has been demonstrated that Ps. 46 does not work as a cipher.

Savage:
>Sorry, don't agree.  My dictionary's definition of a cipher most
>definitely doesn't exclude what happens in Psalm 46.

And you are an expert on ciphers?  I'm not, but as I said in a previous
post, I spoke with someone who is, and this does not have the internal
logic of ciphers.  He thinks the suggestion is pretty funny.

Me:
>>It has been demonstrated that the position of those words was
>>established in earlier translations.

Savage:
>Sorry, can't agree with that either.  The extraordinary positioning of
>the words "shake" and "spear" in Psalm 46 of the KJV was not established
>in earlier translations.

Having an imperfect memory, I may be wrong about this one.  I remember a
November post that gave a short list of previous translations that do
indeed have this precedent.  Even if my memory has betrayed me, again,
this hardly puts the translator's pen in Shakespeare's hand.
Statistically, these kinds of coincidences must happen, as another on
this list has demonstrated.

Me:
>>Shakespeare almost certainly did not know Hebrew.
>>Psalm 46 was translated from Hebrew.

Savage:
>If, as I believe possible, Shakespeare did some of the writing of the
>psalms, he was chosen to do this work because he was a great poet, not
>because he knew Hebrew.  He would not have been hired just to do basic
>translation; others would have done that.

Answered above.  This is ridiculous if you have any understanding of the
social world back then.  We can't prove it didn't happen, but we can't
prove there isn't an invisible man, weighing just an ounce, sitting on
your left shoulder.  Both are absurd given what we do know.

It is also absurd given the emphasis put of having an accurate
translation.  You know those poets.  What's bit of accuracy when
compared to impact?  The suggestion of goofy in light of what we know
about their intentions and the final result.  There are many translation
errors, true, but as was covered last year, we only recognize that in
hindsight since we know more about Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic now.  Plus
we have more and better Biblical manuscripts.  Given the knowledge and
manuscripts they had, the KJV translators rendered a highly accurate
translation.  I suppose you will now follow your usual habit and
synthesize these statements into a new theory where Shakespeare worked
closely with the translators to insure both accuracy and poetry?  John,
please don't go there.

Me:
>>Another critical thinking error everyone seems to miss is all the other
>>lovely language in the KJV.  No one proposes Shakespeare to have done
>>more than Ps. 46.

Savage:
>Sorry, not true.  It has been pointed out that he could have worked on a
>number of the psalms, but if he decided to hide his name in the text he
>would have done it with only one.  Makes sense, no?

No, and thank you kindly for the straight line.

Silly me.  I'd like to think that people are smarter than that.  I
despair.  Aside from the questionable cipher there is NO evidence that
Shakespeare worked on the KJV.  For people to find his fist elsewhere is
very Charles Hamilton and very sad.  Do evidence and scholarship no
longer matter?

I can't prove Shakespeare didn't work on the KJV and more than you can
prove he did.  It looks like every time someone gives an excellent
reason not to believe it, you jump to a spot which can't be disproved
("He could have."  "He had the time to."  "He had the talent."  "You
can't prove he didn't.") in order to shore up your argument.

Many years ago I learned of a fascinating article.  It was reported in
Shakespeare Newsletter.  I didn't look it up at the time because I was
researching something else.

It was by a psychiatrist who studied those who held absurd beliefs.  The
shrink studied Oxfordians to understand why, despite all the evidence,
they persisted in their beliefs.  The substance of the article was that
evidence didn't really matter.  As long as the believer had a need met
by holding that belief, they would not give it up.  You would need to
meet that need another way to convert them.  Louis, you out there?  It
was during your tenure as editor.  Can anyone send me to that article?
I want to read it.  Does anyone have the reference?

Assuming the Dr. was right, no one will shake Mr. Savage from his belief
that Shakespeare worked on several Psalms.  So why am I putting my
energy and nervous system into this?  Must be a 60s thing.  I'm going to
try to stop.  It's a character flaw, but willful ignorance always makes
me testy.  My apologies to Mr. Savage and everyone else if that has come
through.

Best,
Mike Jensen
 

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