By David Scott Kastan
'A Will to think' is a revised model of Kastan's 2008 'Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures', offering a provocative account of the ways that faith animates Shakespeare's plays.
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Extra info for A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion
48 This is as close as we can get to an expression of his own belief, and might well be taken as conclusive evidence, pace Davies, that, however he lived, he died a Protestant. ” This is the deﬁning solus Christus theme of Protestantism in which salvation is possible only through unmerited grace made available by the redemptive sacriﬁce of Christ. While Christians of any sort could commend themselves to God “by meritte of whose passion I wholly trust to be saved,”50 in the words of a Suffolk will, it is the insistence on the unique efﬁcaciousness of Christ’s sacriﬁce for salvation that OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 11/08/2013, SPi 28 Shakespeare’s Religion marks the formula in Shakespeare’s will as Protestant (and marks at least the ﬁrst article of John Shakespeare’s “Spiritual Testament” as a forgery).
L. Kingsford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908), vol. 2, 75. 6 Taylor, “Forms of Opposition: Shakespeare and Middleton,” ELR 24 (1994), 298; and Earle, Micro-cosmographie (London, 1628), sig. B7v. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps had claimed that Shakespeare was “an outward conformist to the Protestant faith, but secretly attached to the old religion,” Outlines of a Life of Shakespeare (New York: Longman, 1907), vol. 2, 428. 7 Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 249.
7 Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 249. 8 Eamon Duffy, Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conﬂict in the Tudor Reformation (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 234–46. It is certainly worth noting that both Duffy and Patrick Collinson have come down cautiously on the side of Shakespeare’s traditionalism: Duffy says Shakespeare at the very least “must have struck alert contemporaries as a most unsatisfactory Protestant” (p. 253); and Collinson, in a discussion of recusancy, says of Shakespeare that “he may well have leaned in that direction,” in his “William Shakespeare’s Religious Inheritance and Environment,” in Elizabethan Essays (London and Rio Grande, OH: Hambledon Press, 1994), 251.