Coincidence? Hmmm.

I ran across an article recently that presented an interesting mystery.  It concerns the book of Psalms in the King James version of the Bible, and Williams Shakespeare.  I’m a great fan of Shakespeare, and I guess of the Bible, too, though not as the literal word of God. That, however, is another subject for another blog.

As the article goes, if you look at the 46th Psalm, you will find a hidden reference to the Bard, himself.  It is hidden (ala “Da Vinci Code”) and requires a little counting to find.  Start at the beginning of verse 46 and count 46 words.  You’ll arrive (and I have checked this personally) at the word “shake.”  Go to the end of the 46th verse, count back 46 words, and you’ll arrive at the word “spear.”  I kid you not – go pull your Bible off the shelf, or the bed side table, and look for yourself.

Now comes the most intriguing part: the King James revision of the Holy Bible was underway in the year 1610.  Interestingly, William Shakespeare was 46 years old in the year 1610.

There are a number of scholars who believe that William Shakespeare was actually not the author of the plays and poems we have come to adore and study.  Noted scholars give the credit to a man named Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (as in the dictionary). Critics like to point out that de Vere died in 1604, and Shakespeare continued to publish plays for many years after that.  They also contend that aristocrats of the 17th century would not have bothered themselves with writing anything other than letters and items of official business. The controversy about who was Shakespeare has deep roots, and actually dates back to the 18th century. This intriguing bit of biblical mystery only serves to make the mystery a little more fun.

The King James version of the Bible was commissioned by King James of Scotland, who took the throne in 1603.  His commission drew from a translation that was done by William Tyndale, a 16th century theologian who did his work while in exile.  He was persecuted for taking the text from Latin to the “vulgar” language of everyday English.  As punishment, Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 as a heretic. In an act of kindness, he was strangled first before being burned. 

I find the evolution of the bible to be fascinating, and this bit of Shakespearean legend mixed in makes it all the more interesting to me.

Look it up for yourself!

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2 thoughts on “Coincidence? Hmmm.

  1. Richard M. Waugaman, M.D. says:

    Thanks for bringing up this topic. The Bible is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for Edward de Vere being the author “Shakespeare.” His Geneva Bible is at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Roger Stritmatter, Ph.D. and I have shown that the more interest Shakespeare showed in a given verse, the more interest de Vere showed in that same verse– even obscure ones that other Elizabethan authors ignored. Here’s what I mean– if Shakespeare quoted a verse once, de Vere marked 12% of those verses. But the more times Shakespeare quoted a verse, the greater the likelihood that we found it marked in de Vere’s Bible– all the way up to 88% of verses Shakespeare quoted 6 times in his works. And, by the way, “Shakespeare” was also de Vere’s stage name when he acted at Court. Shakespeare scholars now agree that “Shakespeare” stopped acting in 1604, which happens to be the year of de Vere’s death, while the man from Stratford survived for another 12 years. The best book on this topic is Mark Anderson’s Shakespeare by Another Name.
    Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.
    Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown
    Reader, Folger Shakespeare Library

  2. kwjwrites says:

    Dr. Waugaman,

    I’m honored to have your input! As a fan, and amature scholar, I am delighted to learn more about this amazing man. I agree that de Vere is a fascinating and logical candidate for the role, and I hope that definitive evidence can be found to prove it. I do so appreciate your stopping by!

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