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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: September ::
My Name Is Will
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0523  Monday, 1 September 2008

[1]  From:    Frank Whigham <
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      Date:    Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 19:10:40 -0500
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

[2]  From:    Larry Weiss <
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      Date:    Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 21:26:25 -0400
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

[3]  From:    Nicole Coonradt <
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      Date:    Friday, 29 Aug 2008 03:49:56 +0000
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

[4]  From:    Donald Bloom <
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      Date:    Friday, 29 Aug 2008 09:45:52 -0500
      Subj:    RE: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

[5]  From:    John W Kennedy <
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      Date:    Friday, 29 Aug 2008 10:49:36 -0400
      Subj:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Frank Whigham <
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Date:       Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 19:10:40 -0500
Subject: 19.0515 My Name Is Will
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

 >to highlight the fact of Christian
 >hypocrisy as seen in Christian-on-Christian violence during the
 >Early Modern period in England and to avoid any continued white-
 >washing of what occurred under Elizabeth's reign where "mercy" did
 >not season "justice."

Though I'm no theologian, nor yet a fan of religious hatred, I think we should 
ask whether it's clear that Elizabethan Protestant authorities (or Sidney, say) 
thought that Catholics such as those who carried out the St. Bartholomew's Day 
massacre were in fact Christians. The bitter word "Papist" seems to me something 
of a withholding of this status. Likewise, when Pius V excommunicated QE, he 
declared "the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and 
her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of 
excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ." (I 
quote for convenience from the translation to be found at 
http://tudorhistory.org/primary/papalbull.html.) Did Pius acknowledge Elizabeth 
to be a Christian, with a claim on fellow-status the denial of which would 
constitute hypocrisy? Or does excommunication constitute a casting-out?

More absolutely, did Spenser respect Duessa's right to her own (Christian) 
beliefs? His general habit of regarding what he saw as degeneracy (falling from 
previous right belief) as worse than savagery (the state of those [the Irish] 
born to and raised in wrong belief) suggests a similar denial, matching the 
distinction between formal and material heresy.

Who is a ("real") Christian? It depends on who you ask. The early modern views 
we find so frightful seem to me only hypocritical as such if we impute to their 
holders a "real" knowledge that those on the other side are indeed fellow 
Christians. Ordinary early modern people on the two sides might generally deny 
this. The problem seems to me one all too heartfelt (at least as much among 
Protestant Elizabethans as anyone), not a matter of internal division.

We moderns are, I suppose, different, though I've seen plenty of Catholic-hating 
among fundamentalist Protestants today. (The "Pacific Institute [sic] offers 
conclusive Biblical proof that the Pope is Antichrist at 
http://www.pacinst.com/antichri.htm. Ian Paisley agrees, citing a list of 
"Reformation Worthies" who so believed: "Huss, Wycliffe, Luther, Melancthon, 
Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, Bucer, Knox, Ferrar, Hooper, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, 
Ussher, Firth, Barnes, Philpot, Becon, Turner, Cartwright, Barrow, Jewel, 
Coverdale, Lord Cobham, Hooker, Ainsworth, Dent, Foxe, Fulke, Bradford, 
Bullinger, Rogers, Hutchinson, Whitgift, Sir Francis Drake [sic] and a host of 
others" [http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=antichrist_2]). Is Paisley 
wrong to suggest that this view originated with the Reformation?

For the record, the Oxford Dictionary of the Xn Church says that on this matter 
the RCC cites as fundamental Matthew 18.17: "If he refuse to hear the Church, 
let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican."

The answer to my question is not simply clear to me, but to describe early 
modern religious violence as "Christian-on-Christian" seems to me to assume too 
much.

~Frank Whigham

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
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Date:       Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 21:26:25 -0400
Subject: 19.0515 My Name Is Will
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

I know that Eliz R killed more Catholics than the number of Protestants killed 
by Mary. But that doesn't mean that she did not have a "don't ask, don't tell" 
policy with respect to recusants generally. Campion, for example, was executed 
because he was actively trying to kill the Queen, and the "rebels" referred to 
my Nicole Coonradt were also trying to overthrow her government. Ordinary 
recusant Catholics, possibly including John Shakespeare, were pretty much left 
alone.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Nicole Coonradt <
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Date:       Friday, 29 Aug 2008 03:49:56 +0000
Subject: 19.0515 My Name Is Will
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

Winfield suggests, "Perhaps one could argue that they were executed for 
political, not religious reasons" but very logically and factually offers why 
these two are essentially the same thing because the political and religious 
were inextricably linked-- or as Winfield says, "officially indivisible."

I recommended Marotti's work. Following the same logic, his study begins by 
telling the reader that, "English nationalism rests on a foundation of 
anti-Catholicism" and in the "Afterword" he writes:

"As my study makes clear, religious history is an integral part of cultural 
history, especially for an era in which people interpreted the world through 
religious understanding and used religious language to define most areas of 
individual experience and social intercourse. Since large political and social 
issues manifested themselves in situations of religious conflict and crisis as 
well as in the sectarian religious discourses, what might initially seem to us 
odd textual remains from this period-- for example, particular polemical 
pamphlet wars-- can be discovered to be culturally symptomatic and revelatory. 
Now that there has been a new 'turn to religion' in literary and cultural 
studies as well as in historical scholarship, we are now more disposed, perhaps, 
than previously to hear voices from the past that speak about the world in 
religious language and codes." (206)

Best,
Nicole

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Donald Bloom <
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Date:       Friday, 29 Aug 2008 09:45:52 -0500
Subject: 19.0515 My Name Is Will
Comment:    RE: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

The situations of Mary I and Elizabeth I were rather different. There was no 
question about the legitimacy of Mary as there was about Elizabeth. According to 
the Catholics, Elizabeth was a bastard and thus a usurper; the rightful monarch 
was the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth was also a heretic and a 
supporter of heresy in the kingdom, where she should have been engaged in 
rooting it out (as her older sister tried to do). These are two good reasons (to 
certain mentalities, of which there were a fair number) to murder her.

I don't recall ever hearing of a large-scale conspiracy of illegal clergy and 
their secret supporters to assassinate Mary I -- no reason why there couldn't 
have been, but I don't recall seeing it mentioned. There was certainly such 
aimed at Elizabeth. There were also no equivalent Protestant rebellions, very 
likely because Mary was not on the throne long enough to provoke one. Thus, in 
her long reign, Elizabeth faced problems that her sister, in her short one, 
never had to (but probably would have eventually).

Therefore, while it's instructive to get statistics on the numbers of executions 
during the respective reigns of the two, the context is very important for 
understanding them. The execution of several hundred outright rebels for treason 
is not the same thing as executing several dozen "pretty maids all in a row" for 
heresy. I don't mean that it's more justified (or less), but merely different.

don

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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Date:       Friday, 29 Aug 2008 10:49:36 -0400
Subject: 19.0515 My Name Is Will
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0515 My Name Is Will

This is all very well, but is no one to mention, for good or ill, the fact that 
Elizabeth's original "don't ask don't tell" policy was changed after, in 1570, 
the Pope put out a contract on her ("Regnans in Excelsis")?

John W Kennedy


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