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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Words Ending in eth/th
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0622  Friday, 1 April 2005

[1]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 21:58:29 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th

[2]     From:   David Basch <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 17:56:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 21:58:29 +0100
Subject: 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th

Bill Arnold wrote:

 >My response was about the subject line "Words Ending in eth/th" and not
 >about my book.

As a connoisseur of rhetorical flourishes (a consequence, naturally, of
my own lack of eloquence) I couldn't help noticing that Bill Arnold has
failed completely to address the substantive point which I raised.  This
was, to reiterate, that, judging by the Psalter in general and Psalm 23
in particular, the eth/th ending was popular at the beginning of the
16th century but fell out of use later.  (I should be grateful if anyone
can give an exact date when the Anglican Psalter was revised to
eliminate the eth/th ending.)  The Geneva Bible, however, retained it,
which may have contributed to the apparent revival of its use at the end
of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th.  That may also, of
course, have a bearing on questions of "personal faith".

 >I have already responded at length about Shakespeare and the KJV
 >question: consult the SHAKSPER archives.  There is a search function,
 >courtesy of Hardy.

Bill Arnold has indeed responded at length on this issue, as he does on
other issues.  The substance of his communications seems, however, to
consist of pointers to his own vanity publication.  The general issue
has, of course, been discussed exhaustively rather than thoroughly.
Perhaps I might add, and this is not intended as a criticism of anyone
or anything, that I find it easier to use Google Advanced Search to
search the SHAKSPER archives.

 >But just for you, a non-reader, I quote from the back of my book: "Did
 >Will Shakespeare translate the Psalms? [..."]

The answer to that is that Shakespeare did not 'translate' the Psalms.
The Psalms were translated into English before he was born.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 17:56:32 -0500
Subject: 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0610 Words Ending in eth/th

I never cease to be astounded at the insights I get from the member
submissions on the Shaksper.net list. In this last round of comments on
"eth" endings, Bill Arnold came across with an observation on the King
James Version (KJV) that I had not thought of before.

He wrote:

                                 ... I quote from the back
     of my book: "Did Will Shakespeare translate the Psalms?
     The mystery of the 'Shake-spear' signature in Job and Psalms
     of the King James Version of the Bible is explored at length.
     History of the Bible is recounted from the remote
     manuscripts in Greek and Latin up to the English translations
     at the height of the Shakespearean Age."

My answer already is yes. Yes that William Shakespeare contributed his
genius to the King James Version translation. I gather this from the
finding of his name embedded in Psalms, a finding that is well known and
kicking around for many years and even mentioned in one of Rudyard
Kipling's short stories. My additional researches, some indicating the
poet's knowledge of Hebrew and other findings that bear on this, make a
strong case that the Psalms "signature" was was indeed a "signature" and
a telling indication of Shakespeare's role in the KJV. But I had have
never thought of the verse in Job, "he laugheth at the SHAKing of a
SPEAR" as also telltale of the poet's role. No doubt this is because I
am ignorant of earlier translations of this verse in Job. I note the
translation in a Hebrew Bible as "the rattling of a javelin." Other
translations are even far more different.

Perhaps Professor Arnold would be good enough to inform the list whether
the KJV marked the first time that the specific words, "shaking of a
spear," appeared as an English translation of the verse in Job? If so,
it could indeed be another telling sign of the poet's role in so
important a work, so important that King James did not want it to be known.

If so, Professor Arnold is to be congratulated on his insight and
astuteness, which, combined with a strong case that the Psalms signature
is indeed a signature, could be decisive in locking in the conclusion
that now finally explains why King James has sounded so Shakespearean to
so many readers and how its noted "unity of style and expression" got
there despite 47 to 54 persons participating in the translation.

David Basch


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