The Latest Word

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The Bible Code of Shakespeare

The coincidence was first made public in 1900 in The Publishers' Circular (LXXVI, p. 30). It was observed that, in Psalm 46, the 46th word from the beginning is 'shake' and the 46th word from the end is 'spear'. In the latter calculation the word 'Selah' is omitted because it is not part of the text but a Hebrew musical notation, placed at the end of many verses in the Psalms.

Moreover, the Authorized or King James version of the Bible took six years to complete, ending in 1610 when Shakspere was forty-six years old.

In previous translations of the Bible the words 'shake' and 'spear' were differently placed in relation to the beginning and ending of the Psalm, and 'shake' had earlier been written 'shoke'.

The Authorized Version, published in 1611, was drawn up as a revision of the previous Bishops' Bible by a committee of the most learned clerical scholars in the kingdom, chosen without regard for their religious incli- nations. Their work was submitted for approval to the bishops and leading theolo gians then to the Privy Council and finally to

the King himself. Francis Bacon was not at that time a member of the Privy Council, but, as Solicitor General and adviser to King James on matters of law and state, he most probably had some part in this revision of the Bible. Baconians speculate that he was the behind-the-scenes editor-in-chief but there is no record of that.

If 'Shake-spear' was deliberately encoded in the 46th Psalm and Francis Bacon was behind it, his most likely collaborator was Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester. He was a great friend of Bacon, who consulted him frequently about his philosophical works, and he was famous for the puns, word-play and 'verbal conceits' with which he enlivened his sermons. Andrewes was perfectly placed to doctor the Psalms if he had wanted to, for his name was placed at the head of the list of divines who drew up the Authorized Version. If there was an editor-in-chief, it was he rather than Bacon. By another coincidence, the committee consisted Of 46 members.

Nothing is proved by this chain of coincidences, certainly not that the works of Shakespeare were written by Francis Bacon or any other man of mystery. It is simply a curiosity, one of the many promising clues that seem to be leading towards the centre of the Shakespeare Authorship mystery but never actually reach it.

--John Michell, Who Wrote Shakespeare? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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