Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language

Paperback | August 15, 2011

byDavid Crystal

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What do the following have in common?Let there be light - Whited sepulchres - A rod of iron - New wine into old bottles Lick the dust - How are the mighty fallen - A thorn in the flesh - Wheels within wheelsThey're 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." wrote David Crystal in 2004. In Begat he returns to the subject: he asks how a work published in 1611 could havehad such an influence on the language and looks closely at what that influence has been. He comes to some surprising conclusions.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 impact. David Crystal shows how its words and phrases got independent life in the work of poets, playwrights, novelists, and politicians,and how more recently they have been taken up by journalists, advertisers, Hollywood, and hip-hop. He reveals the great debt the King James Bible owes to its English forebears, especially John Wycliffe's in the fourteenth century and William Tyndale's in the sixteenth. He also shows that therevisions and changes made by King James's translators were crucial to its universal success."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. David Crystal shows how true this is. His book is a revelation.

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What do the following have in common?Let there be light - Whited sepulchres - A rod of iron - New wine into old bottles Lick the dust - How are the mighty fallen - A thorn in the flesh - Wheels within wheelsThey're all in the King James Bible. This astonishing book has "contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-...

David Crystal is the world's greatest authority on the English language. His books include Linguistics, Language and Religion, The Stories of English, The Fight for English, and Just a Phrase I'm Going through: my Life in Language. He is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written extensively o...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.07 inPublished:August 15, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199695180

ISBN - 13:9780199695188

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1Prologue 21. In the beginning2. Let there be light3. Be fruitful and multiply4. My brother's keeper?5. Two by two6. A coat of many colours7. Fire and brimstone8. Begat9. Thou shalt not10. Manna, milk, and honey11. Eyes, teeth, and loins12. What hath been wrought13. Bread alone14. How are the mighty fallen!15. The skin of one's teeth16. Out of the mouths of babes17. Pride goes before a fall18. Nothing new under the sun19. Fly in the ointment20. No peace for the wicked21. Be horribly afraidInterlude22. Seeing the light23. Eyes, ears, cheeks24. Speaking, shouting, wailing, writing25. Shaking, turning, moving26. Many and few, first and last27. Fights, foes, fools, friends28. Praising famous men29. Sheep, goats, swine30. Money, wages, pearls, mites31. Blessed are the servants32. Heal thyself33. Times and seasons34. Birth, life, and death35. Countries, kingdoms, Armageddon36. Building houses, mansions, sepulchres37. Millstones, crosses, yokes, pricks38. Sowing seeds39. Salt and wine40. The law, judges, thieves, swords41. Love and charity42. Peace and patience, wrath, whoreEpilogueAppendixesIndexes

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"Entertaining." --Christopher Howse, Daily Telegraph 23/11/2010