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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Historical Accuracy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0820  Tuesday, 10 April 2001

From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Apr 2001 22:41:27 -0500
Subject:        Historical Accuracy

I do not know Steven Marx personally, but I have from trusted mutual
acquaintance that he is a good fellow and a reasonable and accomplished
Shakespearean scholar.  I have not read any of his work save the recent
(2000) SHAKESPEARE AND THE BIBLE.  In that work I find this sentence on
page four.

"The Reformation had encouraged individual reading of the Scriptures as
essential to salvation, but, during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary
from 1553 to 1558, William Tyndale, the first Protestant translator of
the Scriptures, was burned at the stake along with hundreds of copies of
his recently printed work."

Though I do not think that Dr. Marx's book absolutely hinges upon this
statement, the statement is utterly incorrect.  Tyndale was martyred in
October of1536 on the continent at the instance of King Henry.  I do not
recall that any of Tyndale's works were burnt there with him, but it may
be so.  His Bibles were burnt in England by, I think, Bishop Bonner.  It
sounds like conflated ideas, but whatever the case, the statement is not
true, and the premise that it is intended to support regarding the
essentials of salvation is at least suspect.

If I read the the Acknowledgements in Marx's book correctly, Robert
Miola was one of his readers.  I do not know Dr. Miola personally
either, but I have read and enjoyed his work for a number of years and
consider him a scholar of the first order.  Oxford University Press
published the book in question.  It concerns me that an error in this
degree should not only pass from Marx's hand under Miola's eye, (which
it may not have done at all, and if it did not I apologize to Dr. Miola
in advance for an inaccurate assumption) but also through the entire
editorial process at one of the most prestigious of academic presses. I
comment without animus and hope to be so taken.  What I'd really, really
like to ask is "whazzup with that deal", and what I'd like to set in
train is a conversation between those who might consider this sort of
error negligible and those who consider it egregious.

All the best,
R. A. Cantrell
 

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