Despite the widespread popular sense that the Bible and the works of Shakespeare are the two great pillars of English culture, and despite the long-standing critical recognition that the Bible was a major source of Shakespeare's allusions and references, there has never been a full-length, critical study of the Bible in Shakespeare's plays. The Bible in Shakespeare addresses this serious deficiency. Early chapters describe the post-Reformation explosion of Bible translation and the development of English biblical culture, compare the Church and the Theatre as cultural institutions (particularly in terms of the audience's auditory experience), and describe in general terms Shakespeare's allusive practice. Later chapters are devoted to interpreting Shakespeare's use of biblical allusion in a wide variety of plays, across the spectrum of genres: King Lear and Job, Macbeth and Revelation, the Crucifixion in the Roman Histories, Falstaff's anarchic biblical allusions, and variations on Adam, Eve, and the Fall throughout Shakespeare's dramatic career, from Romeo and Juliet to The Winter's Tale.
The Bible in Shakespeare offers a significant new perspective on Shakespeare's plays, and reveals how the culture of early modern England was both dependent upon and fashioned out of a deep engagement with the interpreted Bible. The book's wide-ranging and interdisciplinary nature will interest scholars in a variety of fields: Shakespeare and English literature, allusion and intertextuality, theater studies, history, religious culture, and biblical interpretation. With growing scholarly interest in the impact of religion on early modern culture, the time is ripe for such a publication.
Hannibal Hamlin is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Huntington Library. His work on the Bible and English literature includes Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature, The Sidney Psalter: Psalms of Philip and Mary Sidney, and The King James Bible after Four Hundred Years: Literary, Linguistic, and Cultural Influences, as well as the Folger Shakespeare Library-Bodleian Library-Harry Ransom Center exhibition, Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible. He is editor of the journal Reformation.
Table of Contents
Part I: Shakespeare's Allusive Practice, Cultural and Historical Background
1. Reformation Biblical Culture
2. A Critical History of the Bible in Shakespeare
3. Allusion: Theory, History, and Shakespeare's Practice
Part II: Biblical Allusion in the Plays
4. Variations on Genesis 1-3
5. Creative Anachronism: Biblical Allusions in the Roman Histories
6. Damnable Iteration: Falstaff, Master of Biblical Allusion
7. The Great Doom's Image: Macbeth and Apocalypse
8. The Patience of Lear: King Lear and Job