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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Psalm 46
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1657  Wednesday, 20 August 2003

[1]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 07:05:01
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 10:59:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

[3]     From:   Syd Kasten <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 20:23:54 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

[4]     From:   David Friedberg <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 15:02:20 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46


[1]---------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 07:05:01
Subject: 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

The Friedmans, William F. and Elizebeth S., wrote "The Shakespeare
Ciphers Examined," Cambridge, 1958.  William was a great cipher-sleuth,
broke the Japanese 'Purple' code, etc.  Very fine.  He did good duty
mangling some of the ciphers offered as proof in the authorship quest,
but he missed on Psalm 46, to wit:

"The numerologists set to work, apparently undeterred by the fact that
the Great Bible of 1539 showed the same two words in the same
positions...."  p. 183.

And so the Friedmans are not to be trusted entirely, and there might be
a prejudice in their study.  The final words in their book are these:

"We suggest that those who wish to dispute the authorship of the
Shakespeare plays should not in the future resort to cryptographic
evidence, unless they show themselves in some way competent to do so.
They must do better than their predecessors.  We urge that they should
acquaint themselves at least with the basic principles of the subject,
and that they conduct their arguments with some standards of rigour.
Before they add to the very large corpus of writings on the subject,
they might also consider subjecting their findings to the inspection of
a professional who has no strong leaning to either side of the dispute.
If all this is done the argument will be raised to a higher plane.
There is even the possibility that it would cease altogether."  p.
287-88

And yet the Friedmans were not "competent" in their discussion of Psalm
46, which is merely a matter of counting words.  They have no dispute
about the final 'Selah'.  It seems to me that the Friedmans may have had
a "strong leaning" themselves regarding the authorship question.  Their
final sentence might seem to say so.  That is, leave it to the experts
to decide about Elizabethan ciphering.  And yet it's quite clear that
the "experts" regarding this or that have often enough been wrong.  Then
their final sentence.  "There is even the possibility that it (sleuthing
by amateurs) would cease altogether."

The Elizabethans, you might say, were amateur puzzlers in this respect.
They delighted in word-games, acrostics, anagrams, chronograms, etc.
Shakespeare was certainly capable of working out the shake/speare
count.  Or it might have been a coincidence, nothing more.  But the
"professional" Friedmans don't have the last word here.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 10:59:17 -0400
Subject: 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

Sam Small contends that we have no "proof" that Shakespeare was
Shakespeare but that "there is no argument about Churchill being the
British Prime Minister in the Second World War because there is proof
that he was so."

Sorry, no.  All we have is the testimony of witnesses that Churchill
(and not, say, Francis Bacon in disguise, and still alive because he was
a Renaissance Genius) was the WWII British prime minister, which is the
same as what we have for Shakespeare--though more copious (and includes
photographs).

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 20:23:54 +0200
Subject: 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

>My own name
>contains 8 letters 4 of which are repeated 2 times making 4 pairs.  Does
>this mean something?  Is this a barmy Harry Potter wizard trying to tell
>me something?
>
>SAM SMALL

Accustomed as I am to find myself taking issue with things Sam has said,
I feel uncomfortable with becoming his nemesis, especially when it
involves something as familiar to him and as undeniably objective as his
own name.  But I count and recount and don't come up with more than one
repetition.

Although I have sympathy with the idea that the editors of the KJV, who
presumably held the belief that our talents are divine gifts, would use
the services of the  most gifted  wordsmith of the day to tighten up the
product, I have no vested interest in it.  I do think, however, that the
earliest date of mention of the Psalm XLVI thing could be considered an
objective fact. Even though having this would shed absolutely no light
on the question of Shakespeare's hand or lack of it in the composition
of the KJV, it would at least bring us closer to the date of the
composition and perhaps lead us to the author or authors of the - would
the term "canard" be appropriate?  Who was this compulsive word counter
who started the chain of "tradition" that led to the outpouring of
words, opinions and ideas of our present discussion?

Bill Arnold will, of course refer me to the library or suggest I buy his
book.  To the first I plead distance from a comprehensive library (I,
like many others on the list, am  not in Academia).  As to the second,
my interest is not strong enough to break the budgetary constraints on
my book purchases.  I do promise to make adequate acknowledgment before
I use whatever insights he shares with us.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Friedberg <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 15:02:20 -0400
Subject: 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1638 Re: Psalm 46

Sam Small wrote,

>There is no argument about Churchill being the British Prime Minister in the
>Second
>World War because there is proof that he was so.  Therefore there is no
>argument about who was the Prime Minister in World War II.

Perhaps so.  I don't know where Sam Small was during WW2.  When that
fracas started Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister.  When it ended,
Clement Attlee was.  I remember, it was in all the papers.

David Friedberg

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