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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Failed Application
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0894  Friday, 6 May 2005

[1]     From:   Jay Feldman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 2005 08:17:25 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0869 Failed Application

[2]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 2005 11:50:03 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application

[3]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 2005 13:06:37 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application

[4]     From:   David Basch <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 2005 22:41:38 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0869 Failed Application

[5]     From:   Florence Amit <
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        Date:   Friday, 06 May 2005 06:40:42 +0300
        Subj:   Failed Application

[6]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 May 2005 10:44:14 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay Feldman <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 2005 08:17:25 -1000
Subject: 16.0869 Failed Application
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0869 Failed Application

David Basch - as a follow up to yesterday's question concerning the
possibility that Shakespeare as a Jew was circumcised, I wonder if you
believe that he and/or his family attempted to follow the basic
principles of a kosher diet and what are your thoughts about his (and
their) ability to significantly limit activity during the Sabbath?

Respectfully - Jay Feldman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 2005 11:50:03 -0700
Subject: 16.0879 Failed Application
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application

"I must say that, as a Shakespeare fanatic, I would find the "bet" of
more interest if it was for a Thousand Pounds rather than Ten Thousand
Dollars!"

I think you might want to stick with the dollars. To Shakespeare a
'dolar' was an eight real piece (the original piece of eight). An eight
real piece was one ounce of silver. The price of silver today is 7
dollars an ounce. To Shakespeare the bet will stand at 70,000 dollars!

Colin Cox

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 2005 13:06:37 -0700
Subject: 16.0879 Failed Application
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application

Peter Bridgman wrote:

 >Since most contemporaries dated parish reforms from 1547-48, John Briggs
 >is right in suggesting that the Reformation hadn't quite started by the
 >end of Henry's reign.
--and John Briggs added:
 >In actual religious terms, it didn't start until Edward VI's reign.

You'd have to pass both statements in front of the numerous victims of
Henry and his administration in the 1530s and early 1540s to persuade
me.  Hall's Chronicle (1548, 1550), entirely contemporaneous, is vivid
proof, page after page, that individuals and large segments of society
realized that structural religious change was underway and that they
personally had to take great care to be on the right side (if
identifiable) in even slight controversies.

Did they know that they were living during the "English Reformation"?
No more than the Yorks and Lancs knew they were fighting the "Wars of
the Roses."  Such periodization is usually the later work of historians.

OED2 suggests the term came into use not earlier than 1563-88.  Hall
puts "reformation" to some indicative use as early as 1516-20 (fols.
60r, 64v, 68v) but he does not name his times except for reigns.

Thus we have to delineate such a historical movement by examining
contemporary sources with the help of our Monday-morning identification
of pivotal events--e.g., Henry's divorce, the Tyndale Bible, the
suppression and dissolution of monastic establishments.

Cheers,
Al Magary

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 2005 22:41:38 -0400
Subject: 16.0869 Failed Application
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0869 Failed Application

If one doesn't play the game, then one cannot lose the game. If the game
is to look squarely at evidence to see where it leads, then if one
doesn't confront the evidence then the game is not being played and it
cannot be lost. But it cannot be won either.

I bring this up because of the tendency of some persons on our list to
not play the game, to cite only part of my evidence and assert it as the
total in order to discredit it. It is an easy way to seem to win the
argument and not lose. Consider again the English court record that
cites John Shakespeare's name as "Johannem Shakere." There is much more
to this beside the fact that shakere happens to sound the Hebrew word of
the Ninth Commandment in the phrase "eyd shakere," "a false witness."
Isolated it tells little. But it is not an isolated fact.

As I mentioned, it so happens that the falcon in Shakespeare's coat of
arms has been identified (not by me) as a "saker." (It is an English
word in the dictionary.) That "saker" sounds like "shakere" and gets the
sound of its first letter from a Hebrew letter that sounds both the "s"
and the "sh" may just be coincidences. That this "saker" appears in the
poet's coat of arms which is supposed to herald his family must be
chalked up as still another coincidence. But this is not the end of
these coincidences.

What else occurs is that the word "sheker" (false) appears in biblical
phrases that are dramatized at least four times in Shakespeare's plays.
These additional coincidences would suggest that the poet knows the word
"sheker." I gave one instance of this in Richard III. Richard in battle
loses from his horse and cries for a horse to save him. This must
conjure Psalm 33:17, "An horse is a vain thing for safety:" It is to be
noted that in the Hebrew this reads, "SHEKER ha'soos lyt'shu'ah," and
can be alternatively translated, "false is the horse for salvation."

A second and third instance occurs in The Merchant of Venice. One of
these is drawn from Psalm 27:12, which reads, "for false (sheker)
witnesses are risen up against me." This phrase is given flesh in the
play through the false witnesses of Jessica and Lancelot. Jessica bears
false witness against her father when she declares that she heard her
father plotting against Antonio. But in the play, Antonio and Shylock
are getting along well and Shylock has even agreed to attend a feast
with his new Christian friends. This situation changes to enmity only
after Jessica runs off. So how could Jessica have heard of such a plot?
Similarly, while Lancelot testifies that the Jew is not feeding him
well, in fact, Shylock noted to Lancelot that he will not "gormandize"
as he did with him in the house of Bassanio where Lancelot wants to go
to serve. Shylock fed him well.

The other instance in TMoV occurs when Bassanio holds up Portia's
portrait and says, "Portia's counterfeit." As we all know, most critics
construe this as Bassanio declaring that the portrait does not do her
justice. But the line can also be read as "Portia IS counterfeit, " that
is, she is false to the ideals she is supposed to represent. This must
bring up the line in Proverbs, "Charm is false (sheker) and beauty is vain."

The fourth of the dramatizations occurs in Hamlet when Hamlet ruminates
on Yorick's skull. Says Hamlet to the skull, "Go to milady's chamber.
Tell her that were she to paint her face an inch thick, she must come to
this. Let her laugh at that." Again the line in Proverbs is enacted,
"False is charm and vain is beauty."

This is an awful lot of conjuring with the word "sheker" and must
connect to the name in the court record and alluded to by the saker in
the coat of arms.

Another point to raise concerns the name "Johannem." It should more
rightly have read Johannen, which is the Hebrew for John. Why then does
it end in "m"? This is reminiscent of Moses's son's name, which instead
of being in the usual form, Gershon, is given as "Gershom," with an "m."
In fact, "Ger'shom" literally means "stranger there," and alludes to
Moses's being a stranger in the land of Midian where he had fled away
from pharoah. Putting the "m" at the end of JohanneM would recall the
situation of a person who is "strange" in the land.

But this does not end the alleged coincidences. Consider Shakespeare's
motto, "Non sanz droicht," which means "not without right," written into
the application for his coat of arms. This can be seen as alluding to
the Bible's patriarch Abraham, indicating that the Shakespeare's are
sons of Abraham. This is so because the motto appears to be derived from
Abraham's words to the Lord in his pleading for the people of Sodom.
Said Abraham to the Lord in Genesis 18:25 as translated in the King
James Version, "That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay
the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the
wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do
right?"

In the original Hebrew, the words above translated as a question can
also be read as a declarative sentence, "The Judge of all the earth
shall not do right," which is how some exegetes translate the line. If
Abraham in these words is asserting the principle that "action should be
in conformity with right," then the same principle can also be expressed
in the negative as, "action shall not be taken without right," which
shortened becomes "not without right." This presents the Shakespeares as
showing themselves as disciples of Abraham.

If this seems a stretch, consider that the coat of arms also alludes to
the second patriarch, Isaac. In the sketches of the coat of arms in the
original applications, the saker is depicted as "shaking a spear." The
latter phrase occurs in Job 41:29 in a verse that declares of the
Leviathon that "he will laugh at the shaking of a spear." The Hebrew
word for "he will laugh" is the same as one of two spellings of the name
of Isaac, which name literally means in Hebrew, "He will laugh."

If Abraham and Isaac are alluded to in the coat of arms, can the third
patriarch, Jacob, be far off? In fact that too is represented in the
coat of arms, but its exposition is a little too complex and lengthy for
this posting.

The point of all this is, what does a coat of arms tell about a family
that alludes to the three biblical patriarchs? What does it tell about
that family when a court record also links its name to the bird in its
coat of arms and then to dramatizations of biblical verses in
Shakespeare's plays that feature the word that is the name of the family?

No doubt, even all this is not iron clad proof. But these are only a few
of many allusions and devices that point in the same direction.  The
preponderance of circumstantial evidence would prove the case of the
poet's Jewish origin. The only reason why it does not do so is that this
evidence is not being confronted but is being waved away a priori as too
impossible to be the fact. This is similar to the situation of those who
once asserted that the world was round, only to be dismissed by those
who "obviously" saw a flat earth and a sun that passed over it and
wished to see nothing more. If you don't play, you surely won't lose
your argument. But then you won't learn whether you are truly right or
wrong.

David Basch

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <
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Date:           Friday, 06 May 2005 06:40:42 +0300
Subject:        Failed Application

Dear forum,

My original posting that was lost in cyber space, complimented Bill
Arnold for a condition that I think was demonstrated by several non-
Jewish artists (and others) including Shakespeare - who enjoyed their
Jewish sources that indeed included post-exilic Jewish literature and
the events that befell the Jewish people in their various conditions.
However, I in no way intended to sustain a kind of competition of the
religions that has now become prevalent, regrettably.

Florence

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 6 May 2005 10:44:14 +0100
Subject: 16.0879 Failed Application
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0879 Failed Application

Elliott Stone wrote

 >I must say that, as a Shakespeare fanatic, I would find the "bet" of
 >more interest if it was for a Thousand Pounds rather than Ten
 >Thousand Dollars!

If it helps, I'm prepared to provide 1,000 pounds sterling in exchange
for 10,000 US dollars.

Gabriel Egan

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