The connection between William Shakespeare and Christianity will be the subject of a presentation hosted by University Libraries on Thursday, Sept. 4, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Surfboard Room of Payson Library. This event is eligible for Convocation credit. Seating is no longer available to the public.
Jerry Rushford, founding director of the Churches of Christ Heritage Center in Payson Library, will discuss how the work of Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the history of the English language, reflects a Christian dimension.
While it is unclear whether Shakespeare remained a Catholic or became a Protestant, he appeared comfortable with both and displayed a thorough knowledge of the English Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
Shakespeare lived and wrote during a religious era. Many members of his extended family were devout Roman Catholics, but in post-reformation England there were strong incentives to support Queen Elizabeth and the Church of England (Anglican). William was baptized in Holy Trinity Church of England (Anglican) in Stratford-upon-Avon, as were his three children. He, his wife, and several other relatives are buried inside Holy Trinity Stratford close to the medieval altar.
Rushford was a professor of religion for many years at Pepperdine University. He is the current and founding director of the Churches of Christ Heritage Center in Payson Library. For three decades, he ran the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and also served as director of Church Relations. Rushford received his education from Rochester College, Oklahoma Christian University, and Abilene Christian University (M.A. and M.Div.), and received a Ph.D. in American church history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.