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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0831  Tuesday, 19 March 2002

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 08:59:21 -0800
        Subj:   Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 17:46:40 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[3]     From:   Daphne Pearson <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 18:44:22 +0000
        Subj:   Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[4]     From:   William Sutton <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 13:18:03 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
views?

[5]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 22:44:31 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[6]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Mar 2002 16:37:31 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Mar 2002 08:59:21 -0800
Subject:        Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

Takashi Kozuka does a very nice job restoring to ambiguities in the case
of Shakespeare's Catholicism.  Let me add two others.

1) Jack Heller writes of *King John*

>If the Church does not fare well in Shakespeare's play, it certainly
>fares better than in most other contemporary versions of King John's
>story.

If true--I have not read everything as Jack seems to have done--this
observation hardly makes Pandulph a sympathetic character.

>As John becomes Shakespeare's villain, he replaces the Church as the
>villain.

True enough, but it is also true that the clerics in the history plays
are villains (any exceptions?).  Pandulph as well as the clerics in *H5*
and the first tetralogy are not shining examples to Godly behaviour.  I
don't see much hope for this line of argument.  No, I do not consider
Sir Hugh to be in a history play.

2) If I understood John Velz correctly in a recent off-list
conversation, and John, please correct me if I didn't, when Shakespeare
quoted the Bible he quoted both the *Bishop's Bible* and the *Geneva
Bible.*  A Catholic New Testament was also available, but no quotes from
it from that are in Shakespeare's writings.  This can be easily
explained if Shakespeare simply had some Catholic leanings, but it seems
odd if there was real devotion.

Neither of these points prove Shakespeare was not a Catholic, but I
believe anyone claiming that he was needs to take these facts into
account.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Mar 2002 17:46:40 GMT0BST
Subject:        Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

I would be interested to know what is the evidence that people wish to
adduce to support the claim that Shakespeare's representation of
confession and penitence are accurately to be described as Catholic,
rather than Anglican.  It's been asserted a few times, but, unless I've
missed it (which is quite possible), I've not seen it nailed down.  As
far as I am aware there is considerable shared ground - the differences
are, as far as I am aware from reading Hooker some time ago, much less
to do with the theology of confession and repentance than with its
external form, with its sacramental status, and with the possibility of
priestly remission of penalty.

Professor David Lindley
Head, School of English

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daphne Pearson <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Mar 2002 18:44:22 +0000
Subject:        Re: 13.0818 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

Takashi Kozuka raised 3 interesting issues regarding John Shakespeare.

The mortgage for one year is a typical Elizabethan mortgage which was
normally taken out for that period. People with financial commitments to
meet often suffered 'cash flow' problems (the actual quantity of coin in
circulation was very limited), and a mortgage from someone better placed
was common. The indenture would have set out the terms, usually to repay
the loan amount at a certain time of day on a specified date at a
specified place. It could be a high-risk enterprise, as failure to repay
on the specified day could mean forfeiture of the property mortgaged.

Transferring land to another member of the family was often a way to
avoid creditors placing an 'extent' (the seizure of lands in execution
of a writ), on one or more of the debtor's estates. If the debtor did
not own the estate then theoretically, it was not possible to extend it.
(I say theoretically because I have found an example where extents were
placed on lands previously sold by the debtor, but I think this is rare
if not unique).

It therefore appears that John Shakespeare was short of money.

Without seeing the 'recusancy rolls' they sound like the court rolls of
an archdeaconry. Attendance at service was compulsory for everyone older
than 14 years every Sunday and each holy day. Non-attendance was
punishable by fine, supposedly 12d (one shilling). Reasons for
non-attendance were varied and lists of those fined (many thousands over
the reign of Elizabeth) may be found in the rolls of the archdeaconry
courts. It was not until 1581 that an Act was passed imposing a fine of


 

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