Dan's epistemology (Christian on Shakespeare)

Christian M. M. Brady cbrady at tulane.edu
Sat Mar 3 14:56:27 EST 2001

On 3/3/01 1:40 PM, "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499 at mclink.it> wrote:

>> I must take it that you are refusing to understand, Dan.
>> You show no mechanism to separate what the particular gospel writer you may
>> select writes about his character(s) from what Shakespeare writes about his
>> character(s).
>> Sorry folks. I can't resist: do we really know who "Shakespeare" was?
> Yes, we can. Besides the contemporary witnesses on record, there are registry
> records, land transactions, and various signatures in appropriate places which
> are compatible one with another, despite the differences in spelling.

Ah! Here it is my turn to offer a distinction to Ian! ;-) I am not saying
that an historical figure named Shakespeare did not live. I am stating that
there are many credible scholars of English literature who do not believe
that the works attributed to him were actually written by that historical

>> Any Baconians out there? With all due respect, some of Ian's arguments about
>> the certainty of authorship with Shakespeare in *contrast* with that of
>> biblical authors assume a lot of a man about whom we know very little and
>> whom some believe did not write the literature attributed to him...
> I think, Christian, you ought to investigate the situation before making these
> comments! We know **so much more** about this man than any Hebrew or NT figure
> you'd like to mention. We even have the guy's will which confirms other things
> from other sources about him.

Ian, you should refrain from making accusations about one's knowledge (or
lack thereof) of a topic until you know for certain that I am ignorant! You
are basing your comments upon various assumptions that you (and many
scholars) have which are in turn based upon certain historical
documents/evidence. That evidence is not complete or full in any sense, but
it is, of course, greater in *quantity* than that which we have for biblical
authors/subjects. But that does not necessarily mean that it all fits
together as neatly as we often have been taught. (For the record, I am not
opposed to the traditional figure and "myth" of Shakespeare. I just thought
it was a nice example since so many do not accept his authorship.)

Finally, the only reason you say we can't know anything about biblical
figures is because you are disinclined to accept the testimony of those
historical records. One does not have to be a
Bible-thumping-born-again-Christian/Jew to accept the general veracity of
the biblical text. (For example, you challenge whether or not we can know
that Paul suffered for his profession of Jesus as messiah, presumably
arguing that Acts is all a fiction. Why be so cynical? Shouldn't we assume
at least some element of truth about his life and his activities?)

cbrady @ tulane.edu
"I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert."

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