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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: December ::
Re: Shakespeare's Bible
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2421  Tuesday, 17 December 2002

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Sunday, 15 Dec 2002 20:18:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.2227 Re: Shakespeare's Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2227 Re: Shakespeare's Bible

>Bruce Fenton writes: "I have heard an account that Shakespeare was one
>of the people hired by King James for the revision of the King James
>Bible.  This would make sense since the King would certainly want to
>seek out the best writers of the day and the timing is right with the
>patronage of the King beginning in 1603 and the translation of his
>bible version in 1611.  What other evidence is there that Shakespeare
>had a hand in the revision of the King James version?
>
>Editor?s Note: This topic has been explored a number of times. For
>details consult the archives through the website ? www.shaksper.net.
>--Hardy]

I have just published several years worth of research on the question,
and I believe unless new evidence surfaces, the conclusion is in that
Will Shakespeare was not hired by King James I, as the names of the men
from academia who were directly involved in the translation are all
known, and I name them in my book, Jesus: The Gospel According to Will,
ISBN 1-892582-01-5, 2002.  There were 50 in all, if you include the
three committees from Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster, and the two men
who wrote the introductory material, Bishop Bancroft and King James I
himself.  It is possible, even probable, given the internal evidence
within Shakespeare's sonnets and Job and Psalms that Will Shakespeare
might have perused the final manuscript in 1610 at the behest of either
the king or someone close to the final committee which worked on it
after the initial translation work was completed.  Perhaps the Will
Shakespeare referents in the KJV were honorific as pointed out by
Anglican Bishop Hodson in 1976.  I found some significant correlations
with Will Shakespeare's coat of arms and Ben Jonson's memorial poem in
the 1623 folio edition which seems to have previously not been
correlated by scholars and which might interest some.  Other than that,
as said by editor Hardy, the subject has been explored quite fairly and
I was able only to find a few significant details.  It was my own
conclusion in my book that the question is open, not proved, but it was
probable that it was honorific to mark Will Shakespeare's birth and
recognize the Shakespearean Age as the birth of the KJV.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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