Monday, October 6, 2008

William Tyndale

Today is the feast day of the man who first translated the Bible into English from the Greek and Hebrew. All English speakers - religious or not - owe him a lot:
In translating the Bible, Tyndale introduced new words into the English language:

*Jehovah (from a transliterated Hebrew construction in the Old Testament; composed from the tetragrammaton YHWH and the vowels of adonai: YaHoWaH)
*Passover (as the name for the Jewish holiday, Pesach or Pesah),
*Atonement (= at + onement), which goes beyond mere "reconciliation" to mean "to unite" or "to cover", which springs from the Hebrew kippur, the Old Testament version of kippur being the covering of doorposts with blood, or "Day of Atonement".
*scapegoat (the goat that bears the sins and iniquities of the people in Leviticus Chapter 16)

He also coined such familiar phrases as:

*let there be light
*the powers that be
*my brother's keeper
*the salt of the earth
*a law unto themselves
*filthy lucre
*it came to pass
*gave up the ghost
Ah, can you imagine the English language without being able to refer to "the powers that be" or "the salt of the earth"?

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