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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Dating Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0829  Thursday, 28 April 2005

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 17:27:31 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 17:30:50 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

[3]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 13:38:45 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

[4]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 13:59:07 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

[5]     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 22:01:11 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 17:27:31 +0100
Subject: 16.0812 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

Peter Bridgman writes approvingly of Peter Milward's scholarship:

 >Although Millward was a Jesuit priest, his book is impressively
 >balanced. The Bible chapter, for instance, is followed by chapters on
 >the poet's debt to Anglican liturgy, Anglican homilies, and to the
 >Anglican preachers Smith and Hooker.

Anyone wanting to know what Milward is currently up to (for despite the
past tense used above he is very much active still) should come to the
seminar 'Shakespeare and Ecology' at the British Shakespeare Association
meeting at University of Newcastle on 1-4 September 2005. The seminar
website at www.gabrielegan.com/ecoShakespeare/ provides the abstracts of
the 7 papers, including Milward's.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 17:30:50 +0100
Subject: 16.0812 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

Steve Sohmer wrote:

 >John Briggs will (perhaps) be interested to learn that quite a few
 >among Shakespeare's country-persons knew that the Julian calendar was
 >some 13 days behind the sun ca. 1600, among them John Dee (see his "A
 >playne discourse"),

Wherein the curious may find the following:

"He yeldeth for conformitye with the rest of the world to assent to the
reformation of our Engleshe calender, with the abridgement of x. daies
onelie; so as the trewthe be denounced to the world that yt ought to be
xj. dayes, hoping the trewthe will drawe the Romanestes and other partes
of Christendome to take owt of their Calender hereafter the said odd daie."

John Briggs

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 13:38:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0812 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

Peter Bridgman quotes me, "Well said, and well documented, Peter.  You
are the rock!"

Then Peter writes, "That's very kind, Bill, but I am a pebble.  The rock
in this case is another Peter, Peter Millward.  His book 'Shakespeare's
Religious Background' (1973) includes a chapter on the Bible in
Shakespeare, from which I got the Hamlet-Job references."

But the Peter of the New Testament was the rock upon which the church
was built: think St. Peters!  Jesus said, in Matthew, C 16, V 18: "Thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
Well, anyway, my point was and still is that Will Shakespeare, as Larry
Weiss recently made note, deemed himself a Christian, cited the *full*
English Bibles, both Old and New Testament scripture.  The brother
referents from both are numerous, and the plays of Shakespeare partake
of this theme, again and again.  Remember, if you didn't know, or don't
recall, that *brother* in the New Testament meant also associates as in
disciples, thus did not mean only a blood brother, as in the case of
evil brother Claudius and good brother King Hamlet.  Note, in Hardy's
archives, as I cited in my *Jesus* book: Richard Noble's *Shakespeare's
Biblical Knowledge* did document 1300 Biblical referents and Naseeb
Shaheen in his 3 volumes of *Biblical References in Shakespeare's Plays*
demonstrated that Will Shakespeare had Biblical allusions to many
Bibles, including the Geneva, the Great, the Bishops, the Matthew, the
Coverdale and others, as well as Cramer's Psalter.  To reiterate: the
play *Hamlet* owes as much if not more on the evil vs. good brother
theme from the New Testament as opposed to the old.  As such: I would
date *Hamlet* as Christian, English 1600!

Bill Arnold

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 13:59:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0812 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

Joseph Egert quotes Michael Luskin, "The WHOLE play exists because
Hamlet's father DID in fact return from it!"

Then Joe Egert writes, "I beg to differ. The play exists because young
Hamlet and his audience are uncertain WHO in fact returned from where."

OK: let's not get carried away by rhetoric.  Act One of *Hamlet* clearly
has a spirit appear, which is identified as Prince Hamlet's father in
his battle armor, and Prince Hamlet ponders which spirit it might be,
good or evil.  In that sense: the spirit DID return from that nether
world, as Michael Luskin alleges; and the spirit is observed by numerous
characters, which has no bearing upon any one character but would lead
the audience to believe that spirits can return from that nether world.
  As the play unfolds, it becomes clear also that the spirit's
information is correct: that he is the good spirit of the murdered King
Hamlet, his evil brother Claudius murdered him with premeditation, and
Prince Hamlet in his final acts exposes the evil deeds of the evil
brother.  The theme of good triumphant over evil reigns as it does in a
host of other Will Shakespeare plays!

Bill Arnold

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Apr 2005 22:01:11 -0400
Subject: 16.0812 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0812 Dating Hamlet

Tony Burton writes: "Steve Sohmer's catalog of indications that
Shakespeare was thinking of the religious calendar-or at least the
astronomical features on which the calendar is grounded-in many of his
plays, especially Hamlet, seem to be balanced by equally convincing
arguments that those references were too dubious and out of the way to
have impressed themselves
effectively on any contemporary audience."

This seems to be comparing apples and onions.  Shakespeare may have been
thinking about a certain calendar, and he may have left traces of that
thought in his writing -- traces that Steve, as scholar, has picked up
on. The fact that auditors in a theatre do not pick up on these traces
means that scholars find things in a text that casual playgoers do not.
Bully for scholars, I say.

Bill

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