Why do Shakespeare and the English Bible seem to have an inherent relationship with each other? How have these two monumental traditions in the history of the book functioned as mutually reinforcing sources of cultural authority? How do material books and related reading practices serve as specific sites of intersection between these two textual traditions? This collection makes a significant intervention in our understanding of Shakespeare, the Bible, and the role of textual materiality in the construction of cultural authority. Departing from conventional source study, it questions the often naturalized links between the Shakespearean and biblical corpora, examining instead the historically contingent ways these links have been forged. The volume brings together leading scholars in Shakespeare, book history, and the Bible as literature, whose essays converge on the question of Scripture as source versus Scripture as process—whether that scripture is biblical or Shakespearean—and in turn explore themes such as cultural authority, pedagogy, secularism, textual scholarship, and the materiality of texts. Covering an historical span from Shakespeare’s post-Reformation era to present-day Northern Ireland, the volume uncovers how Shakespeare and the Bible’s intertwined histories illuminate the enduring tensions between materiality and transcendence in the history of the book.

chapter 1|24 pages


Scriptural Negotiations and Textual Afterlives
ByTravis DeCook, Alan Galey

chapter 2|15 pages

Shakespeare Reads the Geneva Bible

ByBarbara A. Mowat

chapter 3|17 pages

Cain's Crime of Secrecy and the Unknowable Book of Life

The Complexities of Biblical Referencing in Richard II
ByScott Schofield

chapter 5|19 pages

The Tablets of the Law

Reading Hamlet with Scriptural Technologies
ByAlan Galey

chapter 6|17 pages

Shakespeare and the Bible

Against Textual Materialism1
ByEdward Pechter

chapter 7|14 pages

Going Professional

William Aldis Wright on Shakespeare and the English Bible1
ByPaul Werstine

chapter 8|16 pages

“Stick to Shakespeare and the Bible• They're the roots of civilisation”

Nineteenth-Century Readers in Context
ByAndrew Murphy

chapter 9|17 pages

The Devotional Texts of Victorian Bardolatry1

ByCharles LaPorte

chapter 10|18 pages

Apocalyptic Archives

The Reformation Bible, Secularity, and the Text of Shakespearean Scripture
ByTravis DeCook

chapter 11|14 pages

Disintegrating the Rock

Ian Paisley, British Shakespeare, and Ulster Protestantism
ByDavid Coleman