Despite what many modern critics say, Shakespeare's plays are written from a profoundly Christian perspective. This site presents literary criticism demonstrating that. To submit your essay for publication (arguing either for or against this position), email us - kevin @ thewordinc.org

Our Contributors


Ken Colston is the former co-director of admissions and chairman of the English department at Thomas Jefferson School, a classical prepara­tory school in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his BA in English and French from Northern Kentucky University in 1978. From there he earned three master’s degrees: the first in English and com­parative literature from Columbia University, the second in writing from Johns Hopkins University, and the third in liberal arts from the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College, Annapolis. In addition, he studied classics at the University of Rouen, France and theology and philosophy at The Paul VI Institute in St. Louis. He taught English at Anne Arundel Community College in Annapolis and Northern Kentucky University; philosophy and theology at St. John’s College; and English, Latin, Greek, and French at Thomas Jefferson School. He was a regular contributor to the Baltimore Evening Sun from 1984-1992, and his articles have also appeared in Commonweal, Catholic Digest, Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, The New Oxford Review, and Catholic Twin Circle.  Now retired from teaching, he resides in St. Louis with two children and four grandchildren.

Click here to read Ken Colston's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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Carol Curt Enos retired after 25 years of teaching high school English in various places: Centralia, Washington; Binghamton, N.Y.; Chengdu, Sichuan, China; and Lawrence, KS. She was graduated from the University of Kansas with a BS in English education in 1957, received an M.S.T. in French at SUNY-Binghamton in 1973, and an MA in English from the University of Kansas in 1998. She and her geologist husband, Professor Paul Enos, have traveled extensively throughout the world, often accompanied by their two sons and two daughters.
Carol’s ‘obsession’ with the ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’ thrust of Shakespeare scholarship began in Oxford, England, in 1989 when she and Paul spent the second half of a sabbatical after having been in China for five months. This study eventually evolved into the master’s thesis for KU in 1998 and the publication of Shakespeare and the Catholic Religion in 2000. At the 1999 Houghton Tower Conference in Preston, England, this research put her in touch with three accomplished and very kindly Shakespeare scholars: Professor Leo Daugherty, Professor Thomas Merriam, and Father Peter Milward. The paper she presented at the Houghton Tower conference, ‘Catholic Exiles in Flanders and “As You Like It’”’ was selected for the conference publication, Theatre and Religion: Lancastrian Shakespeare, Manchester Press, 2003. Through the course of her teaching career Carol attended seven seminars, three of which were NEH seminar awards, and study programs related to Early Modern History and Shakespeare studies. Additionally, she attended 14 conferences and presented at all but one conference.

She has an online Shakespeare Encyclopedia at cenos@sunflower.com, and her latest book is Shakespeare Settings: Lancashire/Cheshire/ The Catholic Mission, and London.
Wheatmark Publishing Co., 2007. Her work in progress is another book: Shakespeare’s Cheshire and Lancashire Connections.


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Joanna Michal Hoyt, a Quaker and a self-taught student, lives and works with her family at St Francis Farm, an ecumenical Catholic Worker community in upstate NY, where she spends her days tending goats, gardens and guests and her evenings reading and writing. Her short stories have appeared in magazines including Scheherezade’s Bequest, Forge and Daily Science Fiction; another is forthcoming in the anthology Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith. Her articles have appeared in publications including Uisio, Friends Journal, and The Mindful Word.


Click here to read Joanna Hoyt's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.
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Enrique García-Máiquez (Murcia, Spain, 1969), poet and essayist, has published four books of verse, two volumes of his diary, and two collections of his newspaper articles. Together with Aurora Rice, he has translated Sir Thomas More, by William Shakespeare and others, into Spanish.

For more on Enrique click here.

Click here to read Enrique Garcia-Maiquez's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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L. Joseph Hebert teaches political philosophy and directs the pre-law program at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He was born in Bangor, Maine, and became enamored of political philosophy through an undergraduate great books program at the University of Maine, Orono. Since then his chief research interest has been the nature of human excellence and flourishing. His pursuit of wisdom in this matter has led him from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche to those of Plato, Alexis de Tocqueville, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Politics, The Catholic Social Science Review, and LOGOS; his books include More than Kings and Less than Men: Tocqueville on the Promise and Perils of Democratic Individualism and Alexis de Tocqueville and the Art of Democratic Statesmanship (a co-edited volume). In addition to Shakespeare’s political thought, his current research interests include virtue and democratic leadership, the relation between natural and positive law, and Catholic political thought. He lives in Davenport, Iowa with his lovely wife and three loving children.


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Dr. Colin Jory - Colin Jory is a Canberra, Australia secondary-school teacher, historian and Shakespeare scholar, and has been a frequent contributor to Australian Catholic and Christian-inspired publications. His Honours, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees were done on scholarships at the Australian National University, usually ranked world-wide as Australia’s foremost research university.

His Master’s thesis, The Campion Society and Catholic Social Militancy in Australia, 1929-1939, done at the suggestion and under the supervision of the late Professor Charles Manning Clark, Australia’s foremost historian and holder of the Chair of History at the ANU, was published in 1986 with a Foreword by Professor Clark, and is accepted as the definitive study of the area it covers. His Doctoral thesis, done at the suggestion and under the supervision of the late Professor Iain Wright, holder of the Chair of English at the ANU, was on the early manuscripts of Hamlet and the history of scholarship concerning them. He spent five years in private industry managing his own successful computer business.

He is currently putting the finishing touches to an inter-related series of 14 manuscripts on Hamlet, other matters Shakespearean, aspects of the Elizabethan print-industry, English Protestant publishing in Antwerp and Cologne in the period 1525-1540, Henry VIII’s “marriage” to Anne Boleyn, and the identify and date of the first Dutch Bible. He and his wife Paula have eight children and eleven grandchildren (imminently twelve).”



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Andrew Lomas Andrew Lomas has a Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours in Philosophy and Literature) (First Class Honours) from the University of Melbourne. He has had a varied career, ranging from working in shearing sheds and on a dairy farm, and as a short-order cook, to tutoring in philosophy. At present he runs a small farm on the Great Ocean Road, in country Victoria, Australia.





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Fr. Dwight Longenecker - Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England.  Fr Longenecker was brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight.

Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He now serves as parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville.
Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, blogging, books, riding his motorcycle and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias. They live in Greenville, South Carolina with a black Labrador named Anna, a chocolate Lab named Felicity, a cat named James and various other pets. 

Click here to read Fr. Dwight Longenecker's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

Click here to visit Father Longenecker's website.

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Dr. Tom Merriam – Tom Merriam is a retired lecturer, historian and Shakespeare scholar who has been a frequent contributor to Notes and Queries over twenty years. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended school there, as well as New York State, New Hampshire and England. After graduating from Harvard College, he spent three years in the U.S. Army, partly stationed in Germany. After several years in Maine as a psychiatric case worker, then teaching, and later highway engineering, he migrated to Reading, Berkshire and married a distant cousin from Croydon. After three years, the Merriam family, now with two boys, moved to Basingstoke where Tom was teaching, mainly British political history.

In 1980 he began using computerized text, to search for patterns in Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More.  With financial assistance from Hampshire County Council he studied for an M.Phil. degree at King’s College London under Professor G. Richard Proudfoot, later senior editor of the 3rd Arden Shakespeare series. The master’s degree led to a doctoral thesis examining the stylometric homogeneity of the Shakespeare First Folio.

There are three new ideas which Tom has offered to Shakespeare scholars:  (1) King John is a co-authored play in which Shakespeare is critical of the king whom John Bale saw as a precursor to Henry VIII; (2) Henry V is a co-authored play in which Shakespeare wrote the prose, in contrast with the play’s glorification of war in verse; (3) Sir Thomas More was not mostly composed by Anthony Munday, but was substantially written by Shakespeare.  There is a stylometric basis for these claims, and they make contextual sense, and also deepen our appreciation of Shakespeare.



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Fr. Peter Milward - Peter Milward was born in London in 1925, studied at Wimbledon College 1933-43, entered the Society of Jesus 1943, studied philosophy at Hethrop College, Oxon. 1947-50, classical and English literature at Campion Hall, Oxford, 1950-54, came to Japan in 1954, studied Japanese, then theology at St. Mary's college, Tokyo (faculty of theology, Sophia University), 1957-61, was ordained priest 1960, began teaching in the department of English Literature, Sophia University, 1962.

Specializing in Shakespearian drama, he published his first book, An Introduction to Shakespeare's Plays, 1964, followed by Christian Themes in English Literature, 1967. After further research at the Shakespeare Institute, Birmingham, 1965-66, he published Shakespeare's Religious Background, 1973; and as a result of subsequent research at the Huntington Library, California, he went on to publish two volumes of Religious Controversies of the Elizabethan Age and the Jacobean Age in 1977 and 1978.

Besides being vice-chairman of the Renaissance Institute of Sophia University, he is editor of Renaissance Monographs and of the Japanese Renaissance Sosho; and with the opening of the Renaissance Centre in the new library of Sophia University in 1984, he was appointed its first director. He has also published books on G.M. Hopkins (He is a prominent member of the Tokyo Branch of the Hopkins Society of Japan) and T.S. Eliot, as well as many volumes of essays for Japanese students.

Click here to read Fr. Peter Milward's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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Kevin O'Brien - Kevin O’Brien is the founder and artistic director of the Theater of the Word Incorporated, a Catholic theater company which tours the country evangelizing through drama. 

Although an atheist at an early age, Kevin’s experiences with the dramatic arts began a conversion process, that, with the help of the writings of G. K. Chesterton, eventually brought him into the Catholic Church. 

Kevin hosts the television series The Theater of the Word on EWTN and can also be seen on episodes of EWTN’s The Apostle of Common Sense and The Quest for Shakespeare.
Most recently Kevin has appeared in two movies, Manalive, based on the novel by G. K. Chesterton, and To Follow the Light: the Conversion of John Henry Newman.
In addition, Kevin performs dramatic readings of audio books for Ignatius Press and other publishing companies, and is the only person in history to play every part in a Shakespeare play, which he did for his audio readings of  The Merchant of Venice: Ignatius Critical Edition and Macbeth: Ignatius Critical Edition.
He is also a writer and frequent contributor to The St. Austin Review and The Distributist Review.

Click here to read Kevin O'Brien's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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Boris Pasternak(1890-1960), born in Moscow, was the son of talented artists: his father a painter and illustrator of Tolstoy's works, his mother a well-known concert pianist. Pasternak's education began in a German Gymnasium in Moscow and was continued at the University of Moscow. Under the influence of the composer Scriabin, Pasternak took up the study of musical composition for six years from 1904 to 1910. By 1912 he had renounced music as his calling in life and went to the University of Marburg, Germany, to study philosophy. After four months there and a trip to Italy, he returned to Russia and decided to dedicate himself to literature.

Pasternak's first books of verse went unnoticed. With Sestra moya zhizn (My Sister Life), 1922, and Temy i variatsii (Themes and Variations), 1923, the latter marked by an extreme, though sober style, Pasternak first gained a place as a leading poet among his Russian contemporaries. In 1924 he publishedVysokaya bolezn (Sublime Malady), which portrayed the 1905 revolt as he saw it, and Detstvo Lyuvers (The Childhood of Luvers), a lyrical and psychological depiction of a young girl on the threshold of womanhood. A collection of four short stories was published the following year under the title Vozdushnye puti(Aerial Ways). In 1927 Pasternak again returned to the revolution of 1905 as a subject for two long works: Leytenant Shmidt, a poem expressing threnodic sorrow for the fate of Lieutenant Schmidt, the leader of the mutiny at Sevastopol, and Devyatsot pyaty god (The Year 1905), a powerful but diffuse poem which concentrates on the events related to the revolution of 1905. Pasternak's reticent autobiography, Okhrannaya gramota (Safe Conduct), appeared in 1931, and was followed the next year by a collection of lyrics,Vtoroye rozhdenie (Second Birth), 1932. In 1935 he published translations of some Georgian poets and subsequently translated the major dramas of Shakespeare, several of the works of Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, and Ben Jonson, and poems by Petöfi, Verlaine, Swinburne, Shelley, and others. Na rannikh poyezdakh (In Early Trains), a collection of poems written since 1936, was published in 1943 and enlarged and reissued in 1945 as Zemnye prostory (Wide Spaces of the Earth). In 1957 Doktor Zhivago, Pasternak's only novel - except for the earlier "novel in verse", Spektorsky (1926) - first appeared in an Italian translation and has been acclaimed by some critics as a successful attempt at combining lyrical-descriptive and epic-dramatic styles. An autobiographical sketch, Biografichesky ocherk (An Essay in Autobiography), was published in 1959, first in Italian, and subsequently in English. Pasternak lived in Peredelkino, near Moscow, until his death in 1960.

(Biography from Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969)

Click here to read Boris Pasternak's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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Joseph Pearce - A native of England, Joseph Pearce moved to the United States in 2001 to take up the position of writer in residence and associate professor of literature at Ave Maria University in Florida. He is editor of the St. Austin Review, an international review of Catholic culture, editor-in-chief of Sapientia Press, series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions, and executive director of Catholic Courses.

The internationally acclaimed author of many books, which include bestsellers such as The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder:  A Life of Hilaire Belloc, Joseph Pearce is a world-recognized biographer of modern Christian literary figures.  His books have been published and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Italian, Korean and Polish.

Pearce has hosted two 13-part television series about Shakespeare on EWTN, the largest religious TV network in the world, and has also written and presented a documentary on EWTN on The Catholicism of the Lord of the Rings.

Click here to read Joseph Pearce's articles on The Christian Shakespeare.

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Fr. Robert D. Smith - Father Smith (1928-2001) was a graduate of Harvard University where he earned his degree in physics. After a year teaching physics at the high school level he entered St. John’s Seminary in Boston and was ordained by Richard Cardinal Cushing in 1956, after which he served as a diocesan priest for 45 years in the Boston Archdiocese. (In Charlestown, he is still remembered as the “hockey-priest” for his work as a young priest with the boys of the parish.) In addition to his three unique and remarkable books (noted below), he authored about a thousand weekly columns entitled “The Other Side of Christ” over a period of twenty-three years (1978 to 2001) in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly newspaper published in the United States and renown for its faithful allegiance to the Catholic Church at a time when most had embraced the extremes of modernism or ultra-traditionalism.

     Father Smith’s columns in The Wanderer, all derived from his Sunday sermons, were “strait talk” on one subject: sin and the penalties of sin. When asked why he did not speak or write on hardly anything else, he replied, “When the Ship [Church] is sinking, we have to bail her out. This is not the time to paint the masts.” Indeed, Father Smith saw it as an act of Mercy to speak on God’s Justice (“the other side of Christ”), for few were nowadays hearing this basic message of the Gospel: the reality of hell; the necessity of conformity to God’s Ten Commandments; the necessity of sincere repentance for salvation.

     Father Smith’s mission may strike some as a dour and a rather impossible task in today’s world, but his Masses were packed with people eager to hear and learn from him, for he had a peculiar talent of constructing humorous phrases even in the midst of dire warnings. He was not a “hellfire and damnation” preacher, but a true Catholic priest. He was also an expert on English literature, especially Shakespeare and Jane Austin, these not merely because of their sublime writing, but especially because of their exquisite moral sensitivity. In other words, Father Smith had a way of using all his learning and wisdom to keep the listener interested, to draw a chuckle, and especially to make him seek repentance and holiness.

     His three books published, each unique and remarkable, are The Mark of Holiness (Newman Press, 1961), a comparative study of holiness as found in the world’s religions. Therein it is shown that only the Catholic Church possesses the Mark of Holiness, because only in the Catholic Church is God’s Natural Moral Law completely fulfilled. His second book Comparative Miracles (Herder, 1965) demonstrates the uniqueness of Christ’s miracles, showing that no other world teacher has, by any measure, ever produced miracles remotely approaching those of Christ (and His followers) either in type or number. His final book The Other Side of Christ (Magnificat, 1987), from which our chapter derives, has been by far the most popular. Indeed, it is an exquisite masterpiece of remarkable insights into Christ and His Gospel. Father Smith also completed a manuscript which is yet to be published on the Christian morality in Jane Austin’s novels.

Click here to read Fr. Smith's articles on the Christian Shakespeare.