Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language by David Crystal

By David Crystal

"Let there be light," "A fly within the ointment," "New wine in outdated bottles," "How are the effective fallen," "The salt of the earth." a lot of these daily words owe their reputation to the King James Bible. certainly, it truly is stated that this spectacular Bible has contributed extra to the colour and charm of the English language than nearly the other literary source.

In Begat, best-selling language specialist David Crystal bargains a stimulating travel of the verbal richness and brilliant achieve of the King James Bible. How can a piece released in 1611 have had this sort of lasting effect at the language? to reply to this query, Crystal deals attention-grabbing discussions of words resembling "The epidermis of one's tooth" or "Out of the mouth of babes," tracing how those memorable strains have came upon self sufficient existence within the paintings of poets, playwrights, novelists, politicians, and reporters, and the way extra lately they've been taken up with enthusiasm by way of advertisers, Hollywood, and hip-hop. He indicates, for example, how "Let there be gentle" has resurfaced as "Let there be lite," the name of a vitamin cookbook, and "Let there be flight," the identify of an editorial approximately airport delays. alongside the way in which, Crystal reminds us that the King James Bible owes a lot to prior translations, significantly these by means of Wycliffe within the fourteenth century and Tyndale within the 16th. yet he additionally underscores the most important revisions made by means of King James's staff of translators, contrasting the memorable "Am I my brother's keeper" with Wycliffe's "Am I the keeper of my brother."

Language enthusiasts and scholars of the Bible should be both enthralled by means of Begat and its attractive examine the intersection of faith and literature.

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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language

"Let there be light," "A fly within the ointment," "New wine in previous bottles," "How are the strong fallen," "The salt of the earth. " these kind of daily words owe their acceptance to the King James Bible. certainly, it really is acknowledged that this stunning Bible has contributed extra to the colour and charm of the English language than nearly the other literary resource.

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Two by two is actually a modern phrasing. What we find in King James is different (7:9): 29 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 07/17/2010, SPi Two by two There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded. e. couples), and Wycliffe, who had by twain and by twain. But it isn’t a specifically biblical expression. It was in widespread secular use long before English translations of the Bible arrived. We fi nd it in Anglo-Saxon texts, 600 years before the King James Bible was thought of.

Time for all honest Folks to go to bed’, says Lady Answerall. ’ How did the semantic shift arise? The Nod of the Bible is a Hebrew word which means ‘wandering’ (Wycliffe expresses this sense by having Cain fleeing about). It has nothing to do with the English word nod, meaning ‘make a brief inclination of the head’, which is Germanic in origin. But in the popular mind, there was 32 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 07/17/2010, SPi Two by two an identity. And it was a short step from here to the use of nod meaning ‘nod off ’, where drowsiness makes the head fall forward in a short, involuntary motion.

They were designed to attend upon HMS Lion, and took their name from that. Just because a notable phrase is in King James doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed an influential role, and several other familiar 30 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 07/17/2010, SPi Two by two Genesis expressions have had little permanent impact on English outside their originally biblical context. For instance, hardly any general use has been made of the phrase which describes the baby Esau as being red all over, like a hairy garment (25:25), nor of the phrase which Jacob uses when he tells his household that God has answered him in the day of my distress (35:3).

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