Tuesday, 23 April 2013

So Shakespeare Scholars Also Have Weird Theories To Deal With..

Nice article here on the BBC about claims that William Shakespeare did not write the plays attributed to him, and attempts by mainstream scholars to debunk such views.
[W]hat has stirred Prof Wells, who has edited the Oxford Shakespeare for 35 years, is his worry that this question about Shakespeare's authentic authorship seems to be entering the mainstream.
"What's annoying is that it's spreading," he says.
A Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare has gathered prominent signatories, with the claim that there is insufficient unambiguous evidence to link the man from Stratford and the plays attributed to his name.
And a movie, Anonymous, fanned the embers of the idea that the Earl of Oxford was the true author.
Prof Wells, like one of Shakespeare's own grey-haired faithful retainers, has gone into battle once again.
"It's quite true that we don't know as much as we would like to know about Shakespeare. However, we do know more about him than most writers of his period."
Demolishing rival claims is much more straightforward than standing up Shakespeare's.
Sound familiar?


  1. Certainly does.

    You would not believe the number of mythicists who flat out deny that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the Gospels.

  2. I'm struggling to see your point here Steven, the idea that the gospels are pseudonymous is a mainstream view and not exactly something that mythicists can take credit for.

    No doubt you would not believe the number of Anti-Shakespearean theorists who deny that The Bard walked on water, was born of a virgin or was raised from the dead, but that hardly makes the rest of their views more plausible!

    Thanks as always for the comment though.

  3. My point was exactly your point.

    There are people who deny what is 'common knowledge' ie that Shakespeare wrote his plays and that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the Gospels.

    In both cases, we have to look at the evidence to see if there is evidence that Shakespeare wrote his plays and that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the Gospels.

  4. The two cases are different in that it's not the question of authorship of the gospels that divides mythicists and mainstream NT scholars.

    It depends on what you mean by "common knowledge". Views on gospel authorship are pretty pretty basic 101 at any secular uni, or even A level course on the New Testament, so mythers are hardly debunking common knowledge in signing up to these views.

  5. But your parallel was to the question of the authorship of Shakespeare's plays!

    I'm confused.

    1. Ah... So you thought I was comparing the (marginal) view that Shakespeare didn't write the plays attributed to him with the (mainstream) view that Mark, Thomas, etc didn't write the views attributed to them?

      Nope, that wasn't what I was doing!