The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0188 Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Date: April 26, 2010 6:03:20 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0185 Leah's Ring
Comment: Re: SHK 21.0185 Leah's Ring
Joseph Egert wrote:
>...typologists of the era never wearied in their 'backstories' of
>linking this elder sister to the Synagogue and Old Covenant of Law
>& Letter, to be superseded by her younger sister Rachel, the Ecclesia
>of Grace& Spirit. By disposing of the ring binding Shylock to Leah,
>Jessica has practically severed his link to the Old Law, thus weakening
>and readying him for conversion.
To those who would dismiss these comments as hopelessly arcane, I would suggest the ideas may in fact have had some currency. A mere few years before the birth of Shakespeare another giant, Michelangelo, had just about completed a tomb facade featuring Moses the Lawgiver, on view today in the church of Santa Pietro in Vincolo in Rome. Moses, flanked by Leah and Rachel, are the only figures done by master, the others, including the pope who had commissioned the work and the Virgin Mary, having been done by his assistants.
The commentary in the guide book Art & Architecture ROME, (Koenemann ,Cologne 2001) reads "The Biblical female figures of Leah ("active love") and Rachel ("faith") ... symbolize the active life (vita activa) and the contemplative life (vita contemplativa)." (Except for the outside quotation marks, the brackets and quotation marks are the book's editor's.)
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