Tag Archives: Arthur Marotti

Shakespeare and the Religious Turn, Ten Years Later

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MLA PANEL, VANCOUVER 2015

In 2004, Ken Jackson and Arthur Marotti published their review essay, “The Turn to Religion in Early Modern English Studies” (Criticism). Although religion has always played a role in Renaissance studies, the twenty-first century wave was powered on the one side by the New Historicist interest in varieties of identity and dynamics of power, and on the other side with an interest in revitalizing theory in the face of historicism. After all, Derrida underwent his own religious turn, while thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Erich Auerbach, Ernst Kantorowicz, Jacob Taubes, and Hannah Arendt along with that great greekjew Saul of Tarsus harbored complex relationships to Christianity and Judaism. Ten years after the publication of Jackson and Marotti’s essay, religion continues to drive innovative work in the field, with major books by David Kastan, Brian Cummings, Sarah Beckwith, and Hannibal Hamlin deepening our appreciation of Shakespeare’s wrestling with religious questions and his immersion in Biblical culture. Running through much of this most recent work on Shakespeare and religion is an interest in recovering in Shakespeare a religious outlook that finds common ground among or before sectarian positions, whether this orientation is called post-confessional, post-secular, messianic, phenomenological, or Abrahamic. Continue reading