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Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline
Author: Steve Sohmer

Knowing William Shakespeare better, we are better equipped to know his plays. Better knowing his plays brings us closer to knowing him. This book suggests that Shakespeare wrote not only for the mass audience, but simultaneously for that stratum of cognoscenti whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed 'the wiser sort.' It identifies many passages in the plays which Shakespeare resolves famous cruces which scholars have never been able to unravel, and casts new light on Shakespeare's mind and method. Shakespeare wrote into Julius Caesar more than one passage intelligible only to that handful of the wiser sort who had read Plutarch and knew their Suetonius. Into Macbeth Shakespeare injected a detail accessible only to the few intrepid souls brave or reckless enough to have cast the horoscope of King James I. We find a poem in Hamlet, where the prince invites his love and bandies matters of cosmology which were burning issues (literally) throughout Shakespeare's lifetime. While Julius Caesar's old Julian calendar prevailed in England its rival, the scientifically correct Gregorian reformed calendar, dominated most of Europe. Shakespeare suffused his plays with references to calendrical anomalies, as seen in Othello. By relating Shakespeare's texts, the Renaissance calendars and the liturgy, the book produces a lexicon apt for parsing the time-riddles in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare handled religious subjects, examined and interrogated the dogmas of the received religions, and parodied the Crucifixion by exploiting Holinshed's account of the persecution and assassination of York.

Conti Brooke

Shylock’s conversion. Act 4’s echoes of the passion and crucifixion are well known. But if Act 4 alludes to Good Friday, Act 5 alludes  2 22 Religious ritual and literary form to Holy Saturday and the dawning of Easter Sunday. Beginning with the love duet between Jessica and Lorenzo and continuing through the end of the play, Shakespeare repeatedly evokes the ancient Easter Vigil service, the heart of which involved the reception of new converts into the Church. This extended liturgical allusion suggests the play’s continuing preoccupation with Shylock; at the same

in Forms of faith
Revealing the unconscious in chiastic symmetry
Robert Lanier Reid

resurrection, the resuscitation of Imogen and ‘Posthumus’, Hermione’s climactic reanimation, and Prospero’s recovery of all the ship’s ‘freighting souls’, especially Alonso, transformed by an oceanic remorse that eluded Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 5. Epiphany gains fullest meaning amid the desolation of the Crucifixion . 29 This paradox is echoed in most

in Renaissance psychologies
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From prehistoric monument to petrified ‘book’
Michelle P. Brown

.1a ), which heralds the opening of the Psalms in tenth-century Anglo-Saxon Psalters. On the third side of the roughly shaped boulder is an image of the Crucifixion (see figure 10.1c ), enmeshed in interlace in Ringerike style, itself a fusion of Germanic art and the contemporaneous Winchester style of art. These carvings would once have been brightly painted, increasing the similarity of what would otherwise be a traditional pagan memorial to a petrified Christian illuminated manuscript

in Aspects of knowledge
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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The birth and growth of major religions

What do we really know of the origins and first spread of major monotheistic religions, once we strip away the myths and later traditions that developed? Creating God uses modern critical historical scholarship alongside archaeology to describe the times and places which saw the emergence of Mormonism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. What was the social, economic and political world in which they began, and the framework of other contemporary religious movements in which they could flourish? What was their historical background and what was their geographical setting? Written from a secular viewpoint, the author reveals where a scholarly approach to the history of religions may diverge from the assumptions of faith, and shows the value of comparing different movements and different histories in one account. Throughout history, many individuals have believed that they were in direct contact with a divine source, receiving direction to spread a religious message. A few persuaded others and developed a following, and a small minority of such movements grew into full religions. In time, these movements developed, augmented, selected and invented their own narratives of foundation: stories about the founders’ lives and the early stages in which their religious group emerged. Modern critical scholarship helps us understand something of how a successful religion could emerge, thrive and begin the journey to become a world faith. This book presents a narrative to interest, challenge and intrigue readers interested in the beginnings of some of the most powerful ideas that have influenced human history.

Iconoclasm and film genre in The Passion of the Christ and Hail, Caesar!
Martin Stollery

success of The Passion of the Christ ’s combination of the action film’s torture scenario and horror gore, within an extended representation of Christ’s passion and crucifixion, can be seen in Deleyto’s terms as affecting the general evolution of Hollywood genres and of the genre system. Its box office success was arguably one of several factors contributing to the emergence and consolidation of a group of post-2003 films that have been classified as ‘torture porn’. Indeed the film critic David Edelstein, who is credited with coining the term ‘torture porn’ in 2006

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
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St Michael and All Angels, Sowton and St Mary the Virgin, Ottery St Mary
Jim Cheshire

provides a vehicle for carrying the iconographical scheme around the church. Equally significant is the fact that the glass functions to demarcate several key areas within the church, and so helps to define the space within the interior. The Crucifixion in the east window is unusually prominent: it covers three lights, and the figure of the crucified Christ occupies the dominant position. 2 The symbols

in Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival
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‘Lachrimae’ (1975)
Jeffrey Wainwright

the crucifixion, the ‘Crucified Lord’ who is the sequence’s primary addressee. In the first poem, ‘Lachrimae Verae’, the persona cannot see Christ as what belief should tell him he is: ‘you swim upon your cross / and never move’, where ‘move’ is a pun, neither moving himself nor moving the spectator. Instead Christ is ‘our’ construct: This is your body twisted by our skill into a patience proper for redress. Christ’s body is given back to him, twisted perhaps literally as in a

in Acceptable words
Open Access (free)
Postcolonial governance and the policing of family
Author: Joe Turner

Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.