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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Shakespeare's Biblical References
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0936  Wednesday, 18 May 2005

[1]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 17 May 2005 16:13:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 17 May 2005 16:13:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 May 2005 16:13:09 +0100
Subject: 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References

Al Magary wrote:

 >In my annotated edition of Hall's Chronicle (1548, 1550) I am citing
chapter/verse for biblical references and am considering quotes from
both a contemporary English Bible and a Latin version.
 >
 >1.  Although it may not make any great difference, should I quote one
 >of Grafton's versions, or a (Protestant) version most available today
 >(KJV, RSV)?

I would suggest that the whole object of the exercise should be to quote
a version that Hall (or Grafton) was at least familiar with, if not
actually quoting, so I would suggest Tyndale's Bible as it is available
in a modern edition by David Daniell, and perhaps Matthew's or the Great
Bible for passages not in Tyndale's.

 >2.  As the period was one of transition from Roman/Catholicism to
 >Anglican/Protestantism, would it make any sense to put in comparative
 >quotes from, say, Douai Rheims?

No, I would suggest that Douai-Rheims is just as anachronistic as the
KJV - and just as dependent on earlier translations!  An additional
hazard is that nearly all copies of "Douay-Rheims" that are available
are of Bishop Challoner's 18th-century revision - where he imported
wording from the KJV!

 >3.  And as the period was one of transition from Latin to English,
 >should the Vulgate be quoted parenthetically?

Absolutely - although the problem arises that there was no agreed text
of the Vulgate at the time!  I suppose the "Clementine Vulgate" would be
the best compromise here.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 May 2005 08:24:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0914 Shakespeare's Biblical References

John D. Cox writes, "Rather than jumping to conclusions, we might start
with an instance, and see where it takes us. An early and undisputed
biblical allusion occurs in Love's Labor's Lost, 4.3.157-58: "You found
his mote; the King your mote did see; / But I a beam do find in each of
three." Berowne alludes to a saying of Jesus that appears in both
Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:37. What are we to make of the allusion?"

Well, allusions are up to interpretation, agreed?  So, my interpretation
would run something like this: From Matthew, C 7, V 3, we read these
words of Jesus [KJV]:

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Then Jesus said [KJV] in V 5,

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then
shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

In the context of ALL Shakespeare's works, which is my thesis, Will
Shakespeare would have us borrow from the New Testament the teachings of
Jesus to reconcile questions in his works: namely, what this Chapter
from Matthew says about judgment.  Taken in context with ALL the
teachings of Jesus, in particular the famous incident in which a group
of men were about to stone to death a woman for an accusation of
adultery, Jesus pointed out that we all are sinners before God and it is
hypocritical of us to select one commandment and deny another in our
execution of judgment.  My reading of the words of Jesus suggest that
being a hypocrite was a top evil!  In this sense: evil Claudius was
hypocritical as well as a consummate murderer, liar, thief, you name it.

In other words: Shakespeare creating and delivering plays before a
Christian, English audience of 1600 rested his plays upon the teachings
of the Bible, the book of morality of the populace, and by this I mean
both the Old and New Testament, and ultimately the words of Jesus.

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

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