Friday, March 09, 2007

God's Word in English

In The Beginning, The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Langauge, and a Culture
Alister McGrath

On William Tyndale's translation of the Bible into English and its influence on and shaping of later English translations:

"Many of the words and phrases used by Tyndale found their way into the English language. Tyndale was a master of the pithy phrase, near to conversational English, but distinct enough to be used like a proverb. In his Bible tranaslations, Tyndale coined such phrases as":

"the powers that be" (Romans 13)
"my brother's keeper" (Genesis 4)
"the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5)
"a law unto themselves" (Romans 2)

Other neologisms developed and invented by Tyndale:

"Jehovah" from the Hebrew tetragrammaton in the Old Testament
"Passover" from the Jewish festival know in Hebrew as Pesah

"It should be noted that 'attonement' was invented by Tyndale to convey the idea of 'reconciliation.' It can be seen immediately that biblical translation thus provided a major stimulus to the development of the English language, not least by creating new English words to accomodate biblical ideas." (p.79)

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