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Nothing in Shakespeare's England was as important as religion. Questions of faith informed everything from history and politics to love and family, work and play, good and evil, suffering and sacrifice, and ultimately life and death. Every one of Shakespeare's plays is rich in allusions to the Bible, church rites including baptism, communion, marriage, and burial, and a host of religious beliefs. This Companion provides an essential grounding in early modern religious history and culture and the ideas that Shakespeare returns to throughout his career. Chapters dedicated to close-readings of individual plays or groups of plays span both the complex and variegated Christian beliefs explored in Shakespeare's work, as well as the treatment of Judaism, Islam and classical paganism. Authored by an international team of eminent scholars and featuring an Afterword by Rowan Williams, this Companion is the most comprehensive and incisive guide to the topic that students will find.
Pericles presents a complex intertextual nexus that at once invites and defies allegorical mapping and interpretation, and yet powerfully effects a dramatic sense of conversion. Key to this nexus is biblical allusion, which merges with a variety of other textual forms: biblical allusions, particularly to the stories of Jonah and Paul, combine with the Apollonius stories, references to Augustine’s conversion, and medieval religious drama, specifically the miracle or Saint play. Without constituting a full-scale allegory, these biblical allusions and echoes add a distinct Christian resonance to the romance. This is not to say, however, that they provide a distinct theological system; rather, the merging of different sources provides a dramatic structure. For the audience as well as the play’s characters, biblical allusions convert the fear and amazement that are commonplace in the face of stormy seas, shipwreck, and inexplicable turns of fortune into a response verging on religious awe.
2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible. No other book has been as vital to the development of English writing or indeed to the English language itself. This major collection of essays is the most complete one-volume exploration of the King James Bible and its influence to date. The chapters are written by leading scholars from a range of disciplines, who examine the creation of the King James Bible as a work of translation and as a linguistic and literary accomplishment. They consider how it differed from the Bible versions which preceded it, and assess its broad cultural impact and precise literary influence over the centuries of writing which followed, in English and American literature, until today. The story will fascinate readers who approach the King James Bible from the perspectives of literary, linguistic, religious or cultural history.