Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language [NOOK Book]

Overview

What do the following have in common?Let there be light - A fly in the ointment - A rod of iron - New wine in old bottlesLick the dust - How are the mighty fallen - Kick against the pricks - Wheels within wheelsThey are all in the King James Bible. This astonishing book "has contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-proverbial expressions than any other literary source." So wrote David Crystal in 2004. In Begat he returns to the subject not only to consider how a work published in 1611 ...
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language

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Overview

What do the following have in common?Let there be light - A fly in the ointment - A rod of iron - New wine in old bottlesLick the dust - How are the mighty fallen - Kick against the pricks - Wheels within wheelsThey are all in the King James Bible. This astonishing book "has contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-proverbial expressions than any other literary source." So wrote David Crystal in 2004. In Begat he returns to the subject not only to consider how a work published in 1611 could have had such influence on the language, but how it can still do so when few regularly hear the Bible and fewer still hear it in the language of Stuart England.No other version of the Bible however popular (such as the Good News Bible) or imposed upon the church (like the New English Bible) has had anything like the same influence. David Crystal shows how its words and phrases have over the centuries found independent life in the work of poets, playwrights, novelists, politicians, and journalists, and how more recently they have been taken up with enthusiasm by advertisers, Hollywood, and hip-hop.Yet the King James Bible owes much to earlier English versions, notably those by John Wycliffe in in the fourteenth century and William Tyndale in the sixteenth. David Crystal reveals how much that is memorable in the King James Bible stems from its forebears. At the same time he shows how crucial were the revisions made by King James's team of translators and editors."A person who professes to be a critic in the delicacies of the English language ought to have the Bible at his finger's ends," Lord Macaulay advised Lady Holland in 1831. Begat shows how true that remains. It will be a revelation to all who read it.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Begat joins the volumes that draw attention to the unparalleled influence of the KJV on English language and literature. Crystal, an honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, U.K. and the author of several books including The Fight for English, undertook to search the entire KJV for every idiom (as distinct from quotations) that has become part of modern English vernacular. This book is the result of that quest. With a brief introduction and an epilogue that specifically answers the quantitative question, "How many did he find?" (answer: 257), the bulk of the book is devoted to the individual expressions and how they appear in modern popular culture. This makes for the kind of eclectic yet entertaining reading that one might tuck into a bathroom book basket. Readers can dip into the book anywhere and discover humorous and bizarre uses of biblical idioms alongside predictably sober and pious usages. An index of expressions directs readers to relevant pages. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"Its reach is impressive."--Washington Post

"Crystal does a great job of showing how the King James Bible played an essential role in 'begetting' the English language. Highly recommended."--Studies in Scripture

"Crystal is rightly known as a highly engaging author and one of the few linguists with a true talent for explaining highly abstract subject matter in a way that is comprehensible and enjoyable for a general readership...his approach is systematic and well chronicled."--Linguist List

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191612992
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 9/23/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,213,557
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

David Crystal is the foremost writer and lecturer on the English language, with a worldwide reputation and over 100 books to his credit. He is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and was awarded the OBE for services to the English Language. His books include The Stories of English, The Fight for English, Words, Words, Words, and many more.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1 1

Prologue 2 4

1 In the beginning 11

2 Let there be light 14

3 Be fruitful and multiply 18

4 My brother's keeper 23

5 Two by two 29

6 A coat of many colours 35

7 Fire and brimstone 39

8 Begat 42

9 Thou shalt not 45

10 Manna, milk, and honey 49

11 Eyes, teeth, and loins 55

12 What hath been wrought 63

13 Bread alone 71

14 How are the mighty fallen! 75

15 The skin of one's teeth 83

16 Out of the mouths of babes 88

17 Pride goes before a fall 96

18 Nothing new under the sun 101

19 Fly in the ointment 110

20 No peace for the wicked 115

21 Be horribly afraid 123

Interlude 131

22 Seeing the light 134

23 Eyes, ears, cheeks 142

24 Speaking, shouting, wailing, writing 149

25 Shaking, turning, moving 155

26 Many and few, first and last 162

27 Fights, foes, fools, friends 169

28 Praising famous men 175

29 Sheep, goats, swine 180

30 Money, wages, pearls, mites 186

31 Blessed are the servants 194

32 Heal thyself 200

33 Times and seasons 204

34 Birth, life, and death 209

35 Countries, kingdoms, Armageddon 214

36 Building houses, mansions, sepulchres 219

37 Millstones, crosses, yokes, pricks 225

38 Sowing seeds 231

39 Salt and wine 236

40 The law, judges, thieves, swords 241

41 Love and charity 246

42 Peace, patience, wrath, whore 252

Epilogue 257

Appendixes

1 Expressions discussed in this book 263

2 Number of references made to Old and New Testament sources 301

Index of expressions 303

Index of Bible translations 312

Index of Books of the Bible 313

General Index 315

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