Peter J. Leithart
Shakespeare is the Rorschach test of English literature, a mirror for every critical obsession. Coleridge gazes at Hamlet and finds a partner in procrastination. Freud and Ernest Jones discover in Hamlet confirmation of the universality of the Oedipal complex. For Rene Girard, Shakespeare was a Girardian, and Harold Bloom's Shakespeare embodied Bloom's ludic ecstasies in Falstaff on the way to inventing the human. Shakespeare knew it would happen. He knew that lovers—including lovers of drama—see not with the eyes but with the mind.
This is in part testimony to the fecundity of Shakespeare's imagination. But Dostoevsky and Joyce are almost equally fecund, yet interpretations don't slop over the edges the way they do with Shakespeare. Dostoevsky critics work within the horizons of his letters, his journalism, his Orthodoxy, his gambling, his troubled marriage, and we know what Joyce read and how it came to be fictionalized. The problem of interpreting Shakespeare is structural. On the page and stage, Shakespeare is the undisputed master of English, even world, letters, the "man of the millennium." Yet we know comparatively little of his life, and what we know suggests he was an uncommonly litigious and grasping man. He left no letters, no diary, no confession to explain himself. It's the discrepancy between sublime artistic achievement and grubby public record that tantalizes. Shakespeare has to be understood within the horizons of the Elizabethan age and stage, but more definite constraints are missing.
That's part of what fascinates and complicates. The other part is on the page itself. Even if we had no personal papers, we'd know from their poetry that Milton detested Presbyterians and that Blake hated factories. Not Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a bardus absconditus, known only in the trace of his absence, manifest only behind his masks, glimpsed in his withdrawal behind the curtain. For biographers, this is a frustration, but some turn Shakespeare's elusiveness into a decoder ring for the plays and the life and the connection between them. In his wide-ranging study of Merchant of Venice, University of Rochester professor Kenneth Gross speculates on the theatricality that he says unites Shakespeare and Shylock. Shakespeare's rage against his uncomprehending audience, his hiddenness behind the masks of his characters, his status as an alien who, like the Venetian Jew, is forgotten in the final act of cosmic harmony, are dramatized forcibly in Shylock. Shylock is Shakespeare's commentary on his own work as a dramatist. Shakespeare is Shylock.
Gross's biographical suggestions are intriguing, but, like most suggestions about Shakespeare the man, unconvincing. Fortunately, the book stands on its own as an interpretation of The Merchant of Venice, and, fortunately again, Gross is a keen reader. He recognizes the religious overtones of the play, and he argues that Shakespeare refuses the easy options of softening Shylock to heroic victim or hardening him into devilish villain. Shylock's humanity emerges precisely in his refusal to cover his own repugnancy, and Gross sees the play as an experiment in the "aesthetics of repugnancy." Shylock turns his alien status into a performance, ironically playing the roles assigned to him by anti-Semitic Venice and turning those roles into a mirror held up to his Christian antagonists.
Shakespeare's hiddenness has recently been combined with a New Historicist fixation on his religious inclinations. Stephen Greenblatt's best-selling Will in the World and Richard Wilson's 2004 Secret Shakespeare locate the poet in the subterranean world of recusant Catholicism, which, according to Wilson, Shakespeare transformed into a poetics and dramaturgy of self-concealment. Without taking sides in that debate, the superb essays in Beatrice Batson's collection examine the echoes of Catholic and Protestant theology in the major tragedies. In Grace Tiffany's view, Hamlet is a critique of spectacle (= Catholicism) and a Protestant affirmation of the priority of the ear, the gateway either of deadly poison or painful but ultimately healing rebuke. Even the visual Mousetrap play is a dramatized sermon, intended to convict Claudius. For the authors of this collection, Shakespeare exploited the religious possibilities of the theater by consciously exploring contemporary theological concerns in dramatic form.
David Bevington offers some support for Tiffany's argument. This Wide and Universal Theater is an impressively concise performance history. Bevington describes the physical features of the Elizabethan stage and the techniques employed there, then summarizes the plays and includes a deft history of stage and film performances. Along the way, Bevington traces a general trend in Shakespearean performance from pageantry to meta-theatricality. The mostly Victorian pageantry is spectacular and amusing: A fireball hits a ship's mast at the beginning of a 19th-century performance of The Tempest, flying witches are very popular in Macbeth, and some performances of Antony and Cleopatra staged the Battle of Actium. Early 20th-century directors reacted against overblown staging, and directors in the mid-century went further, reducing set and scenery to a minimum.
This turn to meta-theatricality is a return to Shakespeare's own drama, Bevington shows. Shakespeare fills the stage with actors playing at being actors, critics, stage managers, directors, playwrights. Prospero is a well-known stand-in for the poet, but Lady Macbeth is a director, as is Iago; Hamlet and Polonius are theater critics; Cleopatra stages her own suicide, and throughout Measure for Measure the Duke, a personification of providence, tests the other characters, in full knowledge they will fail but hoping that they will through the failure grow in wisdom. Shakespeare's theater is quintessentially meta-theater, insistently calling attention to its own theatricality. Spectacle (Catholicism?) cannot but undermine that key dimension of Shakespeare's (Protestant?) art.
Eric Mallin will have none of this. If Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens set out to write a book on Shakespeare, it would be Mallin's Godless Shakespeare. Mallin isn't just an atheist. He is an aggressive, militant atheist. He's an angry atheist. Mallin offers readings of selected plays, organized, clumsily, by the tripartite structure of Dante's Comedy, and occasionally intersperses his interpretations with cynical reflections on contemporary Christianity. Everywhere, Shakespeare gives us godlessness—a godless hell of religious hypocrites (strange, that: doesn't Jesus consign hypocrites to hell?), a godless purgatory of failed Messiahs, a godless heaven promising pleasure and sex. But who needs evidence from the plays? Mallin knows before he begins that believers are animated by "aggressive certainty," that orthodoxy is small and mean and religion an inflexible system posing senseless riddles as if they were divine profundities. Religion is rigid; Shakespeare is flexible. Religion is certain; Shakespeare richly doubts. Religion justifies immorality by invoking God; Shakespeare is rigorously moral in a Kantian sort of way. Religion gives answers; Shakespeare poses questions. Religion is small; Shakespeare expansive. We know before we crack the First Folio that he was at best a religious skeptic. QED—that is, "Quite Easily Done."
Mallin accomplishes less than his title promises. Godless Shakespeare reveals not Godless Shakespeare but Godless Mallin. The back cover copy has it right: The book doesn't prove Shakespeare an atheist, though Mallin's may be the "first book to discuss Shakespeare's plays from an atheist perspective." That Augustine's mood is as interrogative as Shakespeare, that Christianity has impressive resources for self-criticism, that his own atheism is as stiff a collar as any orthodoxy—all this is lost on Mallin.
Mallin's analysis is also anachronistic. He projects the late modern struggle of fundamentalisms back into the 16th century. If Shakespeare is skeptical, he must have been godless. QED again. By contrast, John D. Cox demonstrates that skepticism, reintroduced to European thought by sixteenth-century translations of Sextus Empiricus and Lucian, was put to Christian uses by writers like Erasmus and More. Not every skeptic was a Montaigne. Shakespeare operates with an engaging Renaissance hybrid that Cox calls "skeptical faith," concocted of equal parts suspicion and hope—suspicion about humanity's capacity for accurate self-knowledge and moral improvement, hopefulness that limited progress is possible. Shakespeare's is a specifically Christian skepticism, rooted in the New Testament's already/not yet eschatology: Humans have some hope for improvement, yet none of this improvement proves to be "the promised end." By infusing this Christian suspicion into drama, Shakespeare transformed ancient comedy and tragedy, and along the way invented the history play. In comedies, the world is better off at the end than at the beginning, but the joy of the end is tinged with the recognition of its incompleteness. Tragedies foreground suffering, offering no explanations or ultimate consolations, because such explanations are outside the bounds of this world. Through the hundreds of biblical allusions in his history plays, Shakespeare lets salvation history impinge on political history, and judge it.
Cox suggests that Shakespearean drama works within a fundamentally Christian structure, and despite his title and thesis, Mallin's book rather helps Cox's case. Mallin uncovers biblical references in the most out of the way places. Pandarus is a perverse figure of Christ the Way; "I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar," says Troilus. Titus' Ovidian feast is a parody of the Last Supper, and the whole play is anti-sacrifice (Mallin doesn't recognize that this could be as much a Protestant as an atheist polemic). Petruchio speaks his wedding vows so loudly that the priest drops his book and Petruchio cuffs him, attacking "two crucial vehicles of God's grace." Paulina's name puns on the apostle's. Against his stated purpose, Mallin presents Shakespeare as an "entertainer" who can't stop quoting Scripture, a poet as God-intoxicated as Spinoza or Flannery O'Connor.
A. D. Nuttall is skeptical about the New Historicist Shakespeare, though not because he thinks Shakespeare an atheist. For Nuttall, who died early in 2007, New Historicism is as reductive as the poststructuralist methods that preceded it, since both critical modes reduce the dramatist to a cog in the cultural machinery and reject the notion that a poet might "artfully manage" the material he receives from his surroundings.
Nuttall pithily sums up plots, identifies key issues and gives close readings of well-selected passages. Shakespeare emerges as a prescient, nearly omniscient, figure. At several points, Nuttall discovers a more bookish Shakespeare than critics since Ben Jonson have been willing to recognize. Everywhere, he discovers a thinking Shakespeare. Before empiricism or idealism existed, Shakespeare already saw that the former would collapse into the latter. Shakespeare is a psychologist who meditates deeply about gender, sex, and love, a political thinker more original than Machiavelli. Nuttall's Shakespeare resists explanations that begin with "all": He recognizes that identity can be constructed (Volumnia makes Coriolanus) and manipulated (Iagooperating on Othello), but refuses to relieve the tension by saying that the self is entirely constructed (Coriolanus's core self is evident in that torturous silence when he questions what his mother has done to him). Beyond the trappings there is always something that passes show. Nuttall suggests a Law of Shakespearean Anticipation: If you have thought of something, Shakespeare thought of it first.
And Nuttall is a witty writer, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Cassius sympathizes with Brutus when he learns of Portia's death, but he is stymied because "You can't hug a stoic." For the cloistered students of Love's Labour's Lost, reality seems to slip away, and this prompts an aside: "usually it is only a philosopher who can contrive to lose so large a thing as the real universe." Nuttall's brief pastiche of poststructuralist pas-d'hors-textism is deliciously unfair.
Nuttall's book will survive because he rejects faddishness in pursuit of old-fashioned literary humanism. It will survive too because he resists the projections so common in Shakespearean criticism. He goes to Shakespeare not to discern familiar shapes in the ink but to learn—about politics, identity, sex and love, religion. He goes to Shakespeare because he admires Shakespeare's intelligence and learning. The result is highly satisfying. Over several decades, Nuttall absorbed Shakespeare's skepticism and generosity, and something of his faith, and in his last years produced an effortlessly authoritative, effortlessly wise book that should be on everyone's short-list of Shakespeare introductions.
Most readers and viewers of Hamlet take Hamlet's most famous soliloquy as a meditation on suicide. John E. Curran, Associate Professor of English at Marquette University, thinks there are bigger things at work. Hamlet is opposing two ontologies, religious universes, moralities.
The first Curran labels "the Be." The Be is the realm of predetermined fixity, without freedom, choice, or contingency. It is an either/or, zero-sum world where every divine initiative must be at the expense of human merit, where signs and things stand in antagonistic opposition rather than seeking reconciliation. The Be is static, atemporal, a world within which human action is meaningless. In the Be, things stay what they are. The Be is cold, logical, technical, empty. The Be is a Protestant world.
On the other side of the great ugly ditch is "the Not to be," which is everything the Be is not. It is a world of both-and, a world of real contingency and freedom, a world where grace and merit, sign and thing, live together in merry fellowship. Human action makes sense, and makes a difference, in the Not to be, because the Not to be is dynamic and temporal. In the Not to be, anything can happen, even bread becoming flesh. The Not to be is warm, moist, organic, teeming. The Not to be is Catholic.
Hamlet's dilemma, according to Curran's interpretation, is that of a man of Catholic sensibilities and aspirations who finds himself stuck in a Protestant world. In his heart, he is a man of the Not to be who wants to breathe free of the stifling, stagnant air of Geneva or Wittenberg; but he learns, with growing frustration, that he lives in the Be. By the beginning of Act 5, he is resigned to the fact that the Not to be is not to be. After that, there is nothing more to say. Submitting to the Be leaves us speechless and dehumanized. The rest is silence.
In this context, Curran suggests, we can see what Hamlet is actually saying about suicide. To endure the slings and arrows is to submit to the Be, a course that Hamlet considers the least noble option. The nobler option is to insist on the dignity of human choice, perhaps through self-slaughter: "To commit suicide would be to alter all the conditions of Hamlet's life, hateful conditions that have been imposed on him … He wants to be in what is now not in existence; musing on the availability of suicide lets him feel that he can have access to that world of real possibility." But the dagger falls. Sicklied o'er by thoughts of the Be, we are cowards all. Later, Hamlet wants to enact a unique revenge that does not fall into the typical pattern of bloodshed, but in the Protestant world of determined fixities, he can only be Hamlet. The Be is a world of the Same, where every revenge is like every other.
Curran's book is filled with footnotes to both secondary literature on Hamlet and an abundance of primary and secondary literature on Elizabethan theology. He has read a lot, but despite the genuine erudition, Curran is no theologian. His portrayals of Catholic and Protestant "ontologies" amount to caricatures. He knows a few things about Protestant and Catholic theology, and extrapolates from those ideas conclusions about what Protestants and Catholics—especially Protestants—must have believed. But the things he knows are not entirely accurate, and his extrapolations even less so. In characterizing Protestantism as steady-state determinism, for instance, he ignores the significant continuities between medieval Catholic and Protestant theologies, the prominent role of sanctification in Calvin's and Puritan theology, the notion of regeneration. He ignores the cross as an epoch-making event. In fact, a plausible—I think convincing—argument can be made that one of Protestantism's great contributions to the church was a rediscovery of the historical dimension of Christianity.
Anyone who suggests, as Curran does, that Protestant determinism undermined casuistry has never cracked a volume of Richard Baxter. While Protestants did deny that humans can control God, the central Calvinist doctrine of the covenant was all about God's voluntary self-binding. When Curran characterizes Hamlet's "There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow" as capturing "the hard logic of predestinarian Christianity," the prejudice is obvious. Hamlet wants to talk about birdies, but Curran takes it as logic, and hard logic at that. For a sect that believed humans "make no contribution to history," Puritans sure contributed more than their share.
Let me illustrate Curran's theological simplifications with a couple of specific examples. He rightly notes that Calvin interpreted the est of the words of institution figuratively and that he repudiated "the idea of our physical eating of Christ." From this, he concludes that "Calvin admitted that the Protestant Eucharist removed the immediacy of our connection to God and made the divine more distant to us." This is flat wrong. In the very passage where Calvin argues that there is no presence "in the bread," he insists that believers are joined to Christ by the Supper, through the Spirit "which unites Christ himself to us" (Institutes 4.17.31). The Supper is for Calvin a "vehicle" by which the Spirit overcomes all "distance" between the church and the heavenly Christ. Calvin is only too happy to speak of "feeding on Christ" and being knit "bone to his bone, flesh to his flesh." Check the liturgy: Who is closer to the bread that is Christ's body—medieval Catholics who watch from the nave, or Calvinists who take and eat?
Curran also misconstrues Calvinist treatments of free will and predestination. He thinks that the Calvinist emphasis on predestination must preclude meaningful human action and render the warnings of Scripture nugatory. But Calvinists regularly sought to explain how predestination was different from determinism, and how predestination could coexist with genuine, though qualified, human freedom. High supralapsarian Puritan William Perkins explains that the decree of predestination "doth altogether order every event, partly by inclining and gently bending the will in all things that are good, and partly by forsaking it in things that are evil: yet the will of the creature left unto itself, is carried headlong of [its] own accord, not of necessity in itself, but contingently that way which the decree of God determined from eternity" (Golden Chaine, Works 2.621). This may not convince Curran, but it is certainly evidence that Protestants did not "ignore" the difficulties of their theology.
If some Protestants (not Calvin) admittedly broke the bond of sign and thing from one direction, Catholicism arguably did so from another. Hamlet's musings on the contrast between his inky cloak and the sorrows that pass show display his desire for "genuineness and sincerity," which in Curran's terms is a "Catholic" yearning: "No gap should lie between inner and outer; we should instead find an absolute correspondence between them, of the type we get with the Catholic Eucharist." It's fairly obvious, though, that transubstantiation creates a chasm between inner and outer, appearance and reality, since transubstantiation is a theory about how the inner reality can be utterly changed while the outer appearances remain. In transubstantiation, the bread-accidents veil rather than display the supernatural miracle taking place behind the curtain. Inky cloaks, on the premises of transubstantiation, might well conceal hearts of pure white, and vice versa. Smiles might be masks of a villain.
Curran doesn't find it possible to remain consistent with his own paradigm. In the Not to be, anything is possible; contingency is absolute. Yet, Curran is critical of Claudius for trying to combine "an auspicious and a dropping eye," charging that if so "one eye is lying." But what happened to both-and? Why, other than the fact that Claudius is the villain and Protestantism is the villain, should Curran conclude that Claudius is expressing a "Protestant" viewpoint? Curran also is ambiguous about whether the play mourns the "loss of contingency"—as if contingency were somehow real prior to the Reformation, but not thereafter—or whether Shakespeare is bemoaning a world that objectively is the Be. Hamlet's cloak can depict his bottomless grief, he realizes, only in its inability to denote those depths ("called bottom because it has no bottom"): "He wants an extravagant display to register an all-consuming grief, but the display is not extravagant enough and the grief is not all-consuming." Is the display ever extravagant enough? Is there not always that within which passes show? If so, are we not all Protestants? Is the Be simply what there is?
My point is not to engage in Protestant-Catholic polemics. I am fully aware that Catholicism has its answers to the objections I posed above. My point is only to show that things are far more complex than Curran's simple binarism allows. But this criticism, substantial as it is, doesn't get to the heart of Curran's thesis. After all, Shakespeare might have been as unsubtle a theologian as Curran. Perhaps the Protestantism Shakespeare knew was what theologian James Jordan has called " Islamo-Calvinism." The critical question for Curran's book is not whether he got Protestantism right; he didn't. The question is what Shakespeare might have believed about Protestantism. Or, better, the question is whether or not Curran provides a coherent reading of Hamlet.
On this score, the book is a more impressive achievement, though not an unmixed one. Curran has a tendency to ignore the drama in favor of a morality play of disembodied ideas. Hamlet becomes an intellectual puzzle. When Curran does keep the text of the play in view, however, his insights are often fruitful. Drawing on Barbara Everett, he points to patterns of circularity and doubling that keep the action and the characters turning back on themselves. The king in the play scene provides the most dramatic example: He dies in the dumb show, lies on his death bed in the play, is killed by Lucianus, and then is "symbolically re-re-re-killed when his queen marries his murderer." And this of course foreshadows the strange climactic double-death of Claudius, who is both stung by his own venom and made to drink his own poisoned chalice.
Even Curran's usually clumsy Protestant/Catholic paradigm can work at times. Claudius at prayer is a true Protestant, who knows that shows of piety merit no response from heaven, without a change of heart. Observing him, Hamlet draws a Catholic conclusion—if he went through the motions of penance, he is forgiven, and killing him at that point is poor revenge. The "nunnery" to which Hamlet wants to consign Ophelia is a whorehouse, but it is only so on the Protestant assumption that human beings lack the power for sexual restraint.
Curran is most fruitful in examining the ending of Hamlet, and at this point he throws open some perspectives on the play as a whole. The clever opening to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Last Action Hero got the play right: Hamlet v. the action hero. Hamlet has all the trappings of an action film: "you killed my father—big mistake," the handsome sensitive intelligent prince, the love interest, the cloak-and-daggerish maneuvering that leads to the final confrontation between the hero and the villain. Shakespeare knew how to write such stuff, keeping Prince Hal and Hotspur, Macbeth and Macduff apart until the final climactic duel. In Hamlet, though, the expected end never comes. Everything is chugging toward the climax, but Hamlet and Claudius never square off. In the last scene, Claudius is still acting through a surrogate. Worse, Hamlet's hope for "a distinctive and proportional revenge" collapses into a scene that "fails to contain any nobility whatever": "Everyone dies, along with his father's ambitions and endeavors, and that is that. Anti-climactic, spur-of-the-moment, clumsy, and cruel without some potentially compensating dash or flair to it, the deed itself has no dignity." Hamlet speaks of providence while recounting his clever, cruel dispatch of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Surely Curran is right that all this casts a dark question mark across Hamlet's faith in heaven's providence: "Heaven has ordained this?"
This gives us something to work with, at two levels. Most obviously, Hamlet is a revenge tragedy, and like most plays in this genre it depicts the uncontrollable potency of revenge. Where does the blood stop once we open a wound? Blood flows and flows as long as there is another blood, and bloody, relative to take up the cause—which is as long as forever—or until every relevant person lies in his own personal pool of blood. Shakespeare numbs us with the catastrophe of revenge. He finishes not merely with blood but with an apocalypse of blood. In the end, it's not "Kill," but "Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill."
But Hamlet is far more than a revenge tragedy, else Schwarzenegger would be as likely to play a parody Hieronimo as a parody Hamlet. The "more" is partly the more of a mysterious universality that hovers about Hamlet's predicament, a point underscored by the play's repeated hints of a fallen Eden (unweeded garden, the serpent who kills the king and takes his crown, the primal eldest's curse). But one does not have to be an overtheorized New Historicist to recognize the strength of Curran's claim that Hamlet also resonates with cultural and, especially, religious issues of Shakespeare's time. This too has textual support: Wittenberg, Diet of Worms, providence, and conscience.
Curran's distribution of roles, however, is easily reversible. Hamlet, after all, has come from Wittenberg, cradle of Protestantism, and encounters a ghost fresh from Purgatory. That suggests Hamlet is a Protestant in a Catholic world, rather than the opposite. Shakespeare invents a Roman name for Claudius (Fengon in the original story), and, as David Kaula has argued, Shakespeare uses ancient Rome as proxy for Papal Rome. Kaula spots apocalyptic allusions throughout the play, from Horatio's learned discourse on the harbingers of Caesar's death to the last scene, where Claudius raises, and drinks, a poisoned chalice, like the Whore of Revelation, which English Protestants often interpreted as a symbol of the doomed Catholic Church.
I don't think this alternative morality play works any better than Curran's. Rather, the variety of plausible connections shows that the religious interests of the play work at a more abstract level than Curran believes. The play depicts a clash between an old world and a new, a clash that has religious, cultural, and political dimensions. Hamlet pere is a medieval knight, dressed in armor complete with beaver and operating by the standards of chivalric single combat. Claudius, who must be roughly his contemporary, is every inch a Renaissance prince. Ring out the old, ring in the new. Paul Cantor very plausibly interprets the play as a battle between classical heroism, rejuvenated by the Renaissance, and Christian ethical demands, a war carried out not only in Elsinore's hallways but in the soul of Elsinore's prince.
Hamlet does not find his Catholic (and prophetic) soul stymied by the Protestant universe around him. Rather, the play suggests that Protestant and Catholic bloodlust can only end with the same stupid slaughter. Hamlet might be a Catholic avenger who wants to restore the traditional world of his father's Denmark. Claudius might be the usurping Protestant, with blood on his hands that won't wash clean. The resolution of the play warns that every effort to avenge the father is going to end in blood, and in the shadows waits Norway's (Machiavellian?) Fortinbras, ready to step in to reverse the results of his father's defeat in single combat. If there is a "message" in Hamlet keyed to the historical moment of its first performances, it seems to me the same message of Shakespeare's other plays: It is a Christian humanist's prescient warning that fanaticism will lead to civil war, the killing of a king, and the triumph of amoral Realpolitik. This is the apocalypse whose outlines Shakespeare could already see at the beginning of a century of revolution, the tragic slather of blood he hoped England might become wise enough to avoid.
Peter J. Leithart is professor of theology and literature at New Saint Andrews College and pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho. Among his recent books are Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy, and Hope in Western Literature (Canon Press) and a volume on 1 and 2 Kings in the Brazos Theological Commentary series (Brazos Press).
Books discussed in this essay:
Beatrice Batson, ed., Shakespeare's Christianity: The Protestant and Catholic Poetics of Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Hamlet (Baylor Univ. Press, 2006).
David Bevington, This Wide and Universal Theater: Shakespeare in Performance Then & Now (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2007).
John D. Cox, Seeming Knowledge: Shakespeare and Skeptical Faith (Baylor Univ. Press, 2007).
John E. Curran, Jr., "Hamlet," Protestantism, and the Mourning of Contingency: Not to be (Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2006).
Kenneth Gross, Shylock Is Shakespeare (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2006).
Eric S. Mallin, Godless Shakespeare (London: Continuum, 2007).
A.D. Nuttall, Shakespeare the Thinker (Yale Univ. Press, 2007).
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Books & Culture magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Books & Culture.