Shakespeare: A nice Jewish girl?

And not even Catholic? Oy vey. The magazine of Reform Judaism has a piece by Michael Posner, titled "Unmasking Shakespeare." (Yet again, I might add.) Posner sums up the apparently growing arguments that the Bard was Amelia Bassano Lanier (1569-1645), daughter of a Venetian-born court musician and converso.

A feminist of her day, Bassano composed Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Hail God, King of the Jews), a 3,000-line book of original poetry. Its appearance in 1611 made her the first woman to have published a work of original verse in the English language. Andre Brooks (who has written about this period) points to a poem in which Bassano writes of evil disposed men who forgetting they were borne of women, nourished of women, and that if it were not by the means of women, they would be quite extinguished from this world. Certain men, Bassano declares, have tempted even the patience of God himself.The Bassano authorship theorys principal proponent is John Hudson, a graduate of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, England. Hudson has spent the last seven years poring over Shakespeare texts and scholarly material as well as mounting productions of the plays with his New Yorkbased troupe, the Dark Lady Players. Hes also written an 800-page manuscript in support of his contention that if Amelia Bassano did not author all of the works, she was a major collaborator, influenced them all, and contributed their underlying allegorical plots.

Much more here.

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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