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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language


Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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.

About 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.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Prologue 2

1. In the beginning

2. Let there be light

3. Be fruitful and multiply

4. My brother's keeper?

5. Two by two

6. A coat of many colours

7. Fire and brimstone

8. Begat

9. Thou shalt not

10. Manna, milk, and honey

11. Eyes, teeth, and loins

12. What hath been wrought

13. Bread alone

14. How are the mighty fallen!

15. The skin of one's teeth

16. Out of the mouths of babes

17. Pride goes before a fall

18. Nothing new under the sun

19. Fly in the ointment

20. No peace for the wicked

21. Be horribly afraid


22. Seeing the light

23. Eyes, ears, cheeks

24. Speaking, shouting, wailing, writing

25. Shaking, turning, moving

26. Many and few, first and last

27. Fights, foes, fools, friends

28. Praising famous men

29. Sheep, goats, swine

30. Money, wages, pearls, mites

31. Blessed are the servants

32. Heal thyself

33. Times and seasons

34. Birth, life, and death

35. Countries, kingdoms, Armageddon

36. Building houses, mansions, sepulchres

37. Millstones, crosses, yokes, pricks

38. Sowing seeds

39. Salt and wine

40. The law, judges, thieves, swords

41. Love and charity

42. Peace and patience, wrath, whore




Product Details

Crystal, David
Oxford University Press, USA
null, David
Linguistics | Sociolinguistics
Anthropological linguistics
Linguistics | Sociolinguistics & Anthropological Linguistics
Linguistics - General
Christianity-Bible Background
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
5.3 x 8.4 x 0.6 in 0.894 lb

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Religion » Christianity » Bibles » Background
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » History and Criticism
Religion » Christianity » Church History » 18th to 19th Century
Religion » Christianity » Church History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

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