Shakespeare and the King James Bible
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0279 Sunday, 31 May 2009
From: V. Kerry Inman <
Date: Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:46:34 -0400
Subject: 20.0265 Shakespeare and the King James Bible
Comment: RE: SHK 20.0265 Shakespeare and the King James Bible
>The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0265 Wednesday, 27 May 2009
>From: David Basch <
>Date: Sunday, 24 May 2009 20:51:09 -0400
>Subject: Shakespeare and the King James Bible
>Plumptre reveals the many such parallels in Shakespeare's works, showing
>Shakespeare's high regard for this book of the Bible. I had before come
>upon many such parallels in Hamlet and concluded that the so-called "Ur"
>version of Hamlet that some scholars have been searching for is in fact
>the Bible's Ecclesiastes. The play Hamlet is in a sense a parable based
>on this Bible book, with Prince Hamlet exemplifying in his character
>flaws that violate certain of Ecclesiastes' key precepts how even "good"
>persons can bring about their own undoing. This is the tragedy presented
>in the play.
Reply: This assumes that Shakespeare was aware of this particular
interpretation of the book of Ecclesiastes. Who before Shakespeare
presented this unorthodox interpretation of Ecclesiastes? Ecclesiastes
is traditionally understood to be a work of King Solomon. King Solomon
with his 700 wives and 300 concubines is hardly a parallel for Hamlet.
V. K. Inman, MDiv, ThM, MA
University of Pennsylvania
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