The King James Version is celebrating its 400th anniversary (1611-2011). In the past 400 years, the King James Version (KJV) has made a great impact on the English language. David Crystal, in his book Begat, The King James Bible and the English Language, shows just how much the KJV has affected our language and gives many examples of words and phrases that are in our common in our daily speech.
I’ve read the KJV for many years and I was still amazed at how much of our language comes straight from the KJV. Crystal covers words and phrases such as “let there be light”, “my brother’s keeper”, “two by two”, “thou shalt not”, “out of the mouth of babes”, “heal thyself”, “sowing seeds”, “fly in the ointment”, “seeing the light”, “nothing new under the sun”, “begat”, and many, many more. Crystal discusses how these words and phrases have affected our modern usage of language and the impact they’ve had on developing the English language.
Crystal includes a comparison to other old English translations, which in itself is a fine comparative study. He further notes the importance and contributions of translators such as Wycliffe and Tyndale, among others. Crystal does a great job of showing how the King James Bible played an essential role in ‘begetting’ the English language. Highly recommended.
I’d like to thank Oxford University Press for this free review copy. I was not required to give a positive review. My opinions are my own.