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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Shakespeare and Islam
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0627  Thursday, 6 July 2006

[1] 	From: 	V. Kerry Inman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 04 Jul 2006 15:07:14 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam

[2] 	From: 	John Ramsay <
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 >
	Date: 	Wednesday, 5 Jul 2006 13:42:23 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. Kerry Inman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 04 Jul 2006 15:07:14 -0400
Subject: 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam

Nabie Swaray wrote:

 >"Some American Universities are not only
 >recommending courses in Islam but that student must read the 'Quran
 >itself as the source to understand the enemy."

V. K. Inman's response: What is it one wishes to understand? Islam or 
the 'enemy'? If 'enemy' who is this enemy? If Islam, reading the Qur'an 
will simply not do, and suggesting a reading of the Qur'an can do so is 
a fundamental misunderstanding of Islam. There is a parallel here with 
Judaism. Reading the Old Testament will simply not lead one to an 
understanding of contemporary Judaism. Many Muslims read the Qur'an and 
many have memorized it, but with no more understanding than a Jewish 
child at a bar mitzvah understands the Hebrew being read. Professors 
requiring a reading of the Qur'an need to first acquaint themselves with 
Islam.

 >"The entire world is
 >gripped in this dilemma, and the media continues to bombard us with
 >images and news about Islamic atrocities."

V. K. Inman's response: Were the actions of prison guards in Bagdad 
'Christian' atrocities. Was the Mi Lai massacre during the Vietnam War a 
'Christian' atrocity? In labeling these atrocities as Islamic you are 
indicting many innocent Muslims.

 >"Why Islam in Shakespeare's
 >three plays: Othello, Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice."

V. K. Inman's response: But do not let us think that Shakespeare's 
understanding of Arabs, Turks, Amazight, and Muslims was in anyway correct.

Steven F. Kruger wrote _The Spectral Jew_ U of Minnesota, 2006 In which 
following Derrida, he attempts to explain the medieval Christian view of 
the Jew in terms of spectrality. It is no stretch of the imagination to 
apply the paradigm to Shakespeare and the Muslim, whether, Turk, Arab, 
or Amazight.  Shakespeare had a conception of the Muslim, but it was 
hardly a realistic one.  For the purposes of the study of Shakespeare, 
it is important to reconstruct this spectral Muslim, but also remember 
its distance from reality.

V. Kerry Inman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Ramsay <
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 >
Date: 		Wednesday, 5 Jul 2006 13:42:23 +0100
Subject: 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0618 Shakespeare and Islam

As Persia/Iran became Islamic thanks to Arab conquest in the 7th century 
you need to include a fourth play.

Twelth Night: II-4 line 198

Fabian: I will not give my part of this sport for a pension of thousands
            to be paid from the Sophy.

Sophy was the English term for the Shah.

[Persian Safi, surname of ruling Persian dynasty 1500-1736,
from Arabic Safi-ud-din, 'purity of religion.' Houghton-Mifflin 
Dictionary, 1982]

You can deduce from the above that Shakespeare did know that an Islamic 
ruler was incredibly wealthy.

You might also take into consideration the fact that the Battle of 
Lepanto in 1571 was a major defeat for the Ottoman Turks.

That defeat was inflicted by Don John of Austria, half-brother of the 
king of Spain, in command of a fleet composed of Spanish, Venetian and 
Papal States ships. The contributors to
the fleet called themselves the Holy League.

Spain must have been reasonably satisfied that the defeat of the Turks 
dispensed with this 'threat and an overwhelming force' as it then went 
on to launching the Spanish Armada in 1588 in an attempt to conquer England.

Why? Because Spain claimed to have a passionate interest in Catholicism 
and England claimed to have a passionate interest in Protestantism.

Or was it because the Turks were no longer part of the picture and Spain 
and England were rivals in other areas of conquest?

Shakespeare also uses the term Sophy in Merchant of Venice.

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