By David Crystal
"Let there be light," "A fly within the ointment," "New wine in previous bottles," "How are the potent fallen," "The salt of the earth." a majority of these daily words owe their reputation to the King James Bible. certainly, it truly is acknowledged that this wonderful Bible has contributed extra to the colour and charm of the English language than nearly the other literary source.
In Begat, best-selling language professional David Crystal bargains a stimulating travel of the verbal richness and brilliant succeed in of the King James Bible. How can a piece released in 1611 have had this kind of lasting impact at the language? to respond to this query, Crystal deals attention-grabbing discussions of words comparable to "The dermis of one's enamel" or "Out of the mouth of babes," tracing how those memorable traces have stumbled on autonomous existence within the paintings of poets, playwrights, novelists, politicians, and newshounds, and the way extra lately they've been taken up with enthusiasm through advertisers, Hollywood, and hip-hop. He indicates, for example, how "Let there be mild" has resurfaced as "Let there be lite," the identify of a nutrition cookbook, and "Let there be flight," the identify of an editorial approximately airport delays. alongside the best way, Crystal reminds us that the King James Bible owes a lot to past translations, significantly these through Wycliffe within the fourteenth century and Tyndale within the 16th. yet he additionally underscores an important revisions made by means of King James's workforce of translators, contrasting the memorable "Am I my brother's keeper" with Wycliffe's "Am I the keeper of my brother."
Language fans and scholars of the Bible should be both enthralled through Begat and its attractive examine the intersection of faith and literature.
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Additional info for Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language
But people without this background learn some of them too. You don’t have to be Jewish or Christian to know that Noah had an ark or that Joseph had an ‘amazing technicolour dreamcoat’ (with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber). You may not know exactly what the ark was, but at least you’ve heard that the animals went in two by two—and probably, if you remember your kindergarten days, for to get out of the rain. As for Joseph, you’ll certainly know that he had a coat of many colours. These are just two of the many expressions from the early books of the Bible that have become widely known; but I link them in this chapter because they display the two extremes of influence that biblical phrases can have on the English language.
It’s the sort of vivid description that we might think would be picked up and widely used, but in fact it isn’t. A US pop group, The Thermals, used it once to name a song; and I’ve seen it as the title of a book by Janice Haaken on women’s recovered memories, which uses the ‘think about the past’ sense of look back to produce the intriguing subtitle: Gender, memory, and the perils of looking back. I was beginning to despair of finding anything else to say about pillar of salt when I came across a tall, white, lighthouseshaped road sign on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, next to the cathedral of St Edmundsbury.
Several pop music groups have called themselves Milk and Honey, and it’s the name of an album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It’s even been the name of a 1961 Broadway musical. The storyline? A busload of lonely 53 OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 07/17/2010, SPi Manna, milk, and honey American widows hope to catch husbands while touring Israel. Nor is the pleasant experience restricted to humans. In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit and Tigger travel with Piglet to the Land of Milk and Hunny to get a friendship present for Pooh.
Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language by David Crystal