Faithlife Sermons

Shakespeare and the Christian Lifestyle

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The writer Jaroslav Pelikan (Whose Bible Is It? (London: Penguin books, 2005), 16) suggests that teachers of English literature often need to remind their students that Shakespeare’s plays were not intended to be studied as dry intellectualised texts but to be performed at the Globe Theatre. That is, it is not the page but the stage that was their proper venue. Pelikan suggests that there are ‘two’ Shakespeares at large in the world: the first one being entertained by the scholar and the cultural purists, and the second one being played by the actors and dramatists as a performative rite. The same can be said of Christianity -- there are those who want to study Christianity in order to learn its doctrines, resolve its problems and to argue its case; but then there are those who wish to live its life, appropriate its symbols and embody its substance [...] in the final analysis, it is not the person who knows something cognitively, but the person who internalises something within their innermost being, and lives it out through the sound board of their body and life, that knows its contours best.

Source: Stuart Devenish, Through Spiritual Eyes: The Interior Life of the Christian Saint, unpublished manuscript, 10 Sept 2007.

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