Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In the Beginning by Alistar McGrath

I've never been extremly fond of the KJV. Its archaic languages is hard to understand and I've been quite put off by those who claim that it is the only acceptable translation of the Bible.

However...I just read this book...and...

I never dreamed that this translation had so much influence over the formation of the English language! I was shocked to learn that the "thees" and "thous" of the KJV were actually dying out by the time the translation was made, and were actually perpetuated because of the translation! Moreover, I was intrigued by the fact that many common English idioms actually come from Hebrew or Greek idioms that were translated word for word, rather than thought for though. 17th-century Englishmen would have found those idioms (expressions) confusing, but today they make perfect sense to us!

For example...

"Fall flat on his face"
"A man after his own heart"
"the land of the living"
"sour grapes"
"From time to time"
"like a lamb to the slaughter"
"Rise and Shine"
"A fly in the ointment"
"A drop in the bucket"
"To give up the ghost"
"the powers that be"
(Taken from McGrath 263 and 264)

Talk about crazy!

I also didn't know that the KJV was disliked by the Puritains, and it wasn't until after the fall of the Puritan Commonwealth that this version was commonly accepted among the English.

Nor did I know that, even today, King James Bibles marketed towards Protestants do not contain the Apocrypha, but those marketed towards Catholics do.

It's fascinating what one actually manages to learn in college courses...(although if I were not given an extension in this class, I probably would never have taken the time to read this book in full.)

4 comments:

Josh said...

I didn't know any of that either. It is amazing what one can learn in college!

Elenatintil said...

Or simply by reading...

Josh said...

Very Very True!

Mirfain said...

They actually make KJV Bibles marketed for Catholics?? Wow! Interesting post.