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Begat: The King James Bible and the English…
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language

by David Crystal

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A non-religious book about the origins of idioms traced back to the King James Bible. The author distinguishes between those expressions that are merely quotations, and others that have been hijacked for secular use, often appearing in advertisements and movies.

The author also added appendices and indices to the back of the book.

The book was not boring, but intriguing, and kept my interest throughout. This one is a keeper, and will remain on my shelves. ( )
  fuzzi | Aug 6, 2017 |
Begat is an interesting look at how the KJV and other Bible translations before it have influenced English vocabulary and idiom. However, as others have mentioned, this book is best read a few pages at a time. Good for those interested in the history of English and those texts that have influenced it.
1 vote hailelib | Apr 4, 2014 |
David Crystal looks at how words and phrases from the King James Bible/Authorised Version have become part of the English language as words and idioms in their own right rather than as quotations.

Some you might think of come from other early translations or already existed in the language before King James commissioned the translation. Other "biblical" expressions are actually paraphrases.

Although I read this straight through, it might have been better just to read the prologues and the epilogue and then keep the rest to dip into every now and again. ( )
2 vote Robertgreaves | Mar 25, 2014 |
An overview of the way in which the KJV (and five or six of its predecessors) have influenced the idiomatic development of the English language. A book to dip into, rather than read through at a session, but one I found fascinating. Some excellent indexes make it particularly easy to explore the material brought together by Crystal.
I suspect I won't be the only reader who would like to add more examples of the way Biblical language has been used, and it would be good to see an expanded edition in due course.
  EricJT | Mar 1, 2011 |
Although the material and the analysis are very interesting, this feels too much like an annotated list to be entirely satisfying. Crystal is knowledgable and stylish but even he has trouble creating a pleasing narrative flow as he recounts the prevailing usage of phrases from the the KJV. ( )
  TheoClarke | Nov 14, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199585857, Hardcover)

"Let there be light," "A fly in the ointment," "New wine in old bottles," "How are the mighty fallen," "The salt of the earth." All these everyday phrases owe their popularity to the King James Bible. Indeed, it is said that this astonishing Bible has contributed more to the color and grace of the English language than almost any other literary source.

In Begat, best-selling language expert David Crystal offers a stimulating tour of the verbal richness and incredible reach of the King James Bible. How can a work published in 1611 have had such a lasting influence on the language? To answer this question, Crystal offers fascinating discussions of phrases such as "The skin of one's teeth" or "Out of the mouth of babes," tracing how these memorable lines have 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. He shows, for instance, how "Let there be light" has resurfaced as "Let there be lite," the title of a diet cookbook, and "Let there be flight," the title of an article about airport delays. Along the way, Crystal reminds us that the King James Bible owes much to earlier translations, notably those by Wycliffe in the fourteenth century and Tyndale in the sixteenth. But he also underscores crucial revisions made by King James's team of translators, contrasting the memorable "Am I my brother's keeper" with Wycliffe's "Am I the keeper of my brother."

Language lovers and students of the Bible will be equally enthralled by Begat and its engaging look at the intersection of religion and literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:17 -0400)

How can a work published in 1611 have had such a lasting influence on the language? To answer this question, Crystal offers fascinating discussions of phrases such as "The skin of one's teeth" or "Out of the mouth of babes," tracing how these memorable lines have 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. --from publisher description… (more)

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