Today we will discuss on Influence of the Bible. It will help you know more about Bible influence in the English language.
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English is a world language. Many languages influence to English. Not only that, but English also influence to many languages. But this article is only about Bible influence.
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Among the works that have contributed to the formation of modern English an important place must be given to the translations of the Bible, from those of Tindale and Coverdale in the early 16th century to the Authorised Version of 1611. The chief of these translations was, of course, Tindale’s in 1526. But the most important was the Authorised Version, made under the direction of James I in 1611. It is quite likely that the Authorised Version was more influential than any other single factor in fixing the English language and setting some kind of standard, ‘for through the next three centuries it remained the people’s book, which they heard and read by Sunday and with which they became familiar as with no other’ (F.T. Wood).
Many Biblical phrases have passed into the ordinary language of England as household words.
The enormous influence of the Holy Bible is patent in the very fact that a great many Biblical phrases have passed into the ordinary language of England as household words. It is not easy to make a collection of the scriptural phrases and allusions that have become part of modern English. A few instances may, however, be given here to justify how great is the Biblical influence on the English language. Thus, there are many scriptural phrases and allusion in modern English as ‘The shadow of death’, ‘The eleventh hour’, ‘To hope against hope’, ‘A labor of love’, ‘To cast pearls before swine’, ‘A howling wilderness’, ‘Oliver branches’ and so on. Such phrases have assumed almost the character of English idioms, and are little thought of as anything but native.
Words are formed from the corruption of the two Biblical words
There are some cases in which words are formed from the corruption of the two Biblical words such as ‘helpmate’, which mistaken as a compound of ‘help’ and ‘meet’. The second element is taken as synonymous with ‘mate’ and ‘helpmate’, which originated in a blunder, has become a very happy and common compound.
The scriptural expressions ‘Holy of Holies’, which is a typical expression of the Hebrew manner of the use of superlatives, has given rise to a great many singular phrases in English. Thus there are ‘heart of hearts’, ‘horror of horrors’, ‘mystery of mysteries’, ‘talkie off talkies’, ‘a modern of moderns’ and so on.
Some scriptural proper names have also become the part of the ordering language as common norms. Thus the Biblical word ‘Jehu’ is used to denote driver. Similarly, there are ‘Jejebel’ (an ugly woman) and ‘Daniel’ (a wise judge). Two more popular Biblical expressions, used in the English Language, are ‘golgotha’ and ‘pordigal’. The former is founded on a playful reference to the English rendering of the place a ‘Skull’, whereas the latter comes from the appliation of the ‘Pordigal son’ and is used in the sense ‘spendthrift’. Again, a good many words, which might have been obsolete, have been preserved by their occurrence in the familiar passages of the scripture. Such words include ‘apparel’, and ‘raiment’ (for dress), ‘damsel’ (for a young women), ‘travail’ (for labour) and ‘firmament’ (for sky).
Coverdale and Tindale
The Authorised Version of the Bible has had the greatest influence on the English language. But certain words expressions have come from the other versions of the Bible, particularly from those of Coverdale and Tindale.
Such beautiful terms as ‘loving kindness’ and ‘tender mercy’ are due to Coverdale. ‘Long suffering’ and ‘peace maker’, two other terms, are from Tindale. Again, ‘beautiful’, which appears so indispensable to-dry, seems to have not been used much before Tindale. Though Tindale did not invent the word, he was instrumental to its general use. Perhaps the most admirable example of Tindale’s word-making is ‘scape-goat’, which was suggested by misinterpretation of a Hebrew proper name.
The influence of the Bible is particularly indescribable on the language of English poetry. The use of the ‘th’ from in poetry, – such as ‘loveth’, ‘prayth’, ‘hath’ – is due to Biblical influence. Moreover, the Authorised version of the Bible has exerted a tremendous influence even on the technical grammar of modern poetry.
A constant study of the English Bible as the best training in the English language
Religious texts and Scriptures have always a strong influence on English literature and language too. Biblical stories and anecdotes have become a favorite hunting ground to the writers; and while consulting the text these writers are much impressed by the language in which those stories were narrated. Tendency was so enthusiastic that once he remarked, “the Bible ought to be read, were it only for the sake of the grand English in which it is written, an education itself”. The style of the Authorised Version has been greatly admired by many of the best judges of English style, who, with some exaggeration, recommend an early familiarity with and a constant study of the English Bible as the best training in the English language.
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