Welcome to Episode #003 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

I believe that if you want to understand Shakespeare's plays, then understanding the life of William Shakespeare, the man, is essential. This podcast is designed to help you explore early modern England as Shakespeare would have lived it by interviewing the historians, performers, authors, and experts that know him best.

This week, I'm chatting over coffee with Jem Bloomfield, author of Shakespeare and the Psalms Mystery: Did Shakespeare Help Write the King James Bible. Jem is an author, blogger, and Assistant Professor of Literature at the University of Nottingham.  His research ranges across Shakespeare, gender, performance and the Bible, with a particular focus on the ways texts are used to focus cultural authority. Dr. Bloomfield’s work has been cited in The Guardian, The New Statesmen, and Contemporary Theater Review. His latest book is titled Shakespeare and the Psalms: Did Shakespeare Help Write the King James Bible? He is here today to talk with us about that very legend and set the record straight on this persistent question.


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Inside this episode, I ask Jem about:

  • The origin of this idea that Shakespeare might have written the King James Bible
  • The evidence for and against Shakespeare writing this powerful piece of historical literature
  • The role of legends in our understanding of history, and Shakespeare in particular
  • the surprising piece of cultural capital that played a role in this persistent rumor.

About Jem

Dr. Jem Bloomfield is the author of Shakespeare and the Psalms Mystery: Did Shakespeare Help Write the King James Bible. Jem is a lecturer at the University of Nottingham. His research interests are focused around the production and reception of Early Modern drama, in its original context and throughout later centuries, as well as broader issues of cultural value. As a way of reaching an audience beyond academe, Jem writes for a number of online sites, including Bad Reputation and California Literary Review. His work has also appeared at Liberal Conspiracy, GenderIT.org, The Cultural Value Initiative and was included in the New Statesman‘s “best of the blogs” list. Connect with Jem, and read some of his latest works, here. 

Jem's Latest Project:

At the moment, Jem is taking an in depth look at the work of Agathie Christie for his next book. You can learn more about this project by connecting with Jem on social media, or subscribing to his blog, where he will post updates when the new book becomes available.

Jem in Action:

Read the latest at his blog, quiteirregular.wordpress.com

Books Jem Recommends:

Rhetoric of Fantasy by Farah Mendelsohnn
Witches, Druids, and King Arthur by Ronald Hutton

Resources mentioned in today's episode:

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Join That Shakespeare Girl Newsletter!

Did you enjoy today's episode? I send resources, like a copy of Psalm 46 with these legendary pieces highlighted, out in the weekly newsletter. So if you like hearing experts like Jem discuss the legend of William Shakespeare and Psalm 46, you'll love being a part of That Shakespeare Girl Newsletter. Sign up using this form and I'll send you an outline of Psalm 46 with each word counted so you can see for yourself which ones land at 46 from beginning and end. Unsubscribe at anytime and keep the outline as my gift to you.