KJV or Not KJV, That is the Question

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A few days ago, Tim Challies posted the following on his blog (Challies.com). Since this blog loves to consider both the works of Shakespeare (the Bard) and the King James Version (the Bible), I thought I’d mention it in this post. It begins:

It’s indisputable: No book has had a greater impact on the hearts of individuals and the course of humanity than the Bible. For much of the history of the English-speaking world, the King James Version has been the Bible. Even today, more than 400 years after its initiable publication, it continues to record a stunning percentage of Bible sales. As time continues to pass and its language continues to age, many have wondered: What do we do with the KJV? Some are convinced we should put it out to pasture as a relic of the past. Others are convinced we should maintain it as our Bible of choice.

Mark Ward advocates something between these two extremes, and does so in an excellent new book titled Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible. He insists this book is not for pastors or scholars but “for the regular, English-speaking, Bible-reading public. It contains no Greek or Hebrew words. It focuses entirely on English. This beyond-influential translation, this ‘Authorized Version,’ has been and is both used and misused. We need to discover its proper place. So what do we do with the KJV?

You’ll find the rest of it here, which I recommend reading. I also plan to read the book by Mark Ward.

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The Revolution of the Times

This week’s episode (here) of The Bard and the Bible Podcast pairs the words of King Henry IV from Act 3, Scene 1, of 2 Henry IV with a short passage from Daniel 2:20-22 in the King James Version of the Bible.

bard-and-bible-podcastRatings and reviews on iTunes are much appreciated. You can also easily subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to ensure that you never miss an episode.

Each episode of The Bard and the Bible Podcast offers short readings from Shakespeare and scripture for your inspiration, meditation, or memorization. The host is Bob Hostetler, author of The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional. The episodes, highlighting correspondences or contrasts between the bard’s words and the Bible’s wisdom, can be enjoyed repeatedly and even used as an aid to memorization. Each week’s passages are presented without commentary or interpretation, allowing the listener to draw his or her own conclusions.

Episodes are posted every Friday, and announced on this blog. Listeners can suggest readings or pairings they’d like to hear by commenting on this blog, on the podcast page, or on iTunes.

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BBC Adds More Shakespeare in 2018

saw_2016-2017_mobile_henry_06.jpgThe announcement was made last week that the BBC plans to air four stage productions of the Bard’s plays in 2018.

Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female productions of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest, all filmed at the Donmar’s pop-up theatre in King’s Cross, will be one of the TV highlights. Julius Caesar will be on BBC Four and the others on BBC iPlayer.

The Almeida theatre’s four-hour production of Hamlet, directed by Robert Icke, will be shown on BBC Two. It was critically acclaimed with the Evening Standard describing Scott’s performance as “career-defining”, and Kate Kellaway, in the Observer, calling the show an “all-consuming marvel”.

As a U.S. resident, I’ll be anxious to see if and how I might be able to see these broadcasts. It is good news, in any case.

Read the full report in The Guardian here.

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The Powers That Be

This week’s episode (here) of The Bard and the Bible Podcast resumes Richard II’s speech from Act 3 Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Richard II and pairs it with Romans 13:1-7 in the King James Version of the Bible.

bard-and-bible-podcastRatings and reviews on iTunes are much appreciated. You can also easily subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to ensure that you never miss an episode.

Each episode of The Bard and the Bible Podcast offers short readings from Shakespeare and scripture for your inspiration, meditation, or memorization. The host is Bob Hostetler, author of The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional. The episodes, highlighting correspondences or contrasts between the bard’s words and the Bible’s wisdom, can be enjoyed repeatedly and even used as an aid to memorization. Each week’s passages are presented without commentary or interpretation, allowing the listener to draw his or her own conclusions.

Episodes are posted every Friday, and announced on this blog. Listeners can suggest readings or pairings they’d like to hear by commenting on this blog, on the podcast page, or on iTunes.

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A Shakespeare True/False Quiz

Bet you didn’t know that Shakespeare was really the Duke of York, did you? (He wasn’t). But here are ten statements about Shakespeare for you to judge as “true” or “false.” The answers will follow after the break.

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1. Shakespeare often wrote about far-flung places in his plays, but he only visited Italy and France.

2. Shakespeare was the only major Elizabethan writer of sonnets who also wrote plays.

3. Shakespeare made sonnets popular in England.

4. Though Shakespeare’s sonnets were published in his lifetime (1609), they were apparently published without his involvement or approval.

5. In addition to writing plays, Shakespeare continued to act throughout his life—even in others’ plays.

6. Shakespeare, who was actor, playwright, and shareholder in theaters and theater companies, was unique in his day.

7. An old tradition held that Shakespeare’s finest performance as an actor was as King Hamlet’s ghost in Hamlet.

8. Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, was named for his play, Hamlet.

9. The Winter’s Tale, about a man (Leontes) who gets a second chance after sixteen years of separation from his wife and daughter, was written around sixteen years after Shakespeare established himself as a playwright in London, leaving his wife and children in Stratford.

10. Shakespeare became a grandfather at 43.

Continue reading

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Darkness and Light

A brand new episode (here) of The Bard and the Bible Podcast this week pairs Richard II’s words to his “Discomfortable cousin” from Act 3 Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Richard II with John 3:17-21 in the King James Version of the Bible.

bard-and-bible-podcastRatings and reviews on iTunes are much appreciated. You can also easily subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to ensure that you never miss an episode.

Each episode of The Bard and the Bible Podcast offers short readings from Shakespeare and scripture for your inspiration, meditation, or memorization. The host is Bob Hostetler, author of The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional. The episodes, highlighting correspondences or contrasts between the bard’s words and the Bible’s wisdom, can be enjoyed repeatedly and even used as an aid to memorization. Each week’s passages are presented without commentary or interpretation, allowing the listener to draw his or her own conclusions.

Episodes are posted every Friday, and announced on this blog. Listeners can suggest readings or pairings they’d like to hear by commenting on this blog, on the podcast page, or on iTunes.

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Shakespeare’s Women

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Yes, yes, I know, entire books have been written about William Shakespeare’s depiction of women in his sonnets and plays, and those books could fill whole libraries. This is not that. This is simply one fan–not a scholar–commenting on his favorites among the many women in Shakespeare’s plays, and why:

Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing
At every turn, Beatrice (above, played by Katherine Hepburn), the leading role in Shakespeare’s comedy, not only speaks with wit but triumphs verbally over every man she encounters.

Cordelia, King Lear
I once named a dependable car after the king’s faithful daughter who refuses to use her love as a tool for advancement, saying, “I am sure, my love’s/ More richer than my tongue.” Banished, she marries the King of France and then leads an army back home in an attempt to rescue her father and save the day. It ends badly but she’s the best person in the whole kingdom.

Katherina, The Taming of the Shrew
Kate, as she is called throughout the play, is mercurial but riveting–and though she is “tamed” in the end, she never surrenders the spotlight. 

Lady Macbeth, Macbeth
If Merchant should have been titled Portia, so Macbeth should have been titled Lady Macbeth. She is the powerful center of the play’s action.

Olivia, Twelfth Night

Maybe it’s because I saw Mark Rylance’s delightful and award-winning portrayal of her on Broadway, but the vulnerable-but-in-charge Olivia is one of the few sympathetic noblewomen Shakespeare created.

Paulina, The Winter’s Tale
Paulina is a minor character but a major force in The Winter’s Tale. She stands up to King Leontes with power, wit, and integrity.

Portia, The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice should have been named after Portia, not the merchant Antonio. She steals the show and makes it clear that she is the smartest person in Venice.

Queen Margaret, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, Richard III
Shakespeare portrayed Margaret as strong, ruthless, and intelligent woman who thoroughly dominates the men around her–especially her husband. Even when her temporal power is lost, in Richard III, she prophesies against her enemies with beautiful fury–and all of her prophecies are fulfilled.

Rosalind, As You Like It

Rosalind is disguised as a man throughout the play (which in Shakespeare’s day would, at one point in the plot, have had a male playing a female playing a male playing a female!). But she manages everyone around her, including making the boy she wants to marry into a man who is worthy of her.

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