Without the English translations of the Bible hundreds of years ago, adolescents wouldn't go through puberty, we wouldn't be able to satisfy our appetites, and Keanu Reeves wouldn't have starred in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
According to Coined By God: Words and Phrases That First Appear in English Translations of the Bible (published this month by W.W. Norton), puberty, appetite and excellent are among more than 100 English words, phrases, rhythms, and idioms coined in Bible translations.
Authors Stanley Malless and Jeffrey McQuain researched the Wycliffe (1382), Tyndale (1526), Coverdale (1535), Geneva (1560), and King James (1611) translations for words or phrases that had no previous record in the English language. The terms they found—or didn't find—might surprise you. The book includes 131 brief entries that trace the items' origins and how they are now used.
Christianity Today assistant online editor Todd Hertz talked with Malless, an education professor at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, about how he and McQuain researched the book and what the Bible means for the English language.
What was the impetus for you to do this book?
This isn't really a faith-based book. The purpose was largely educational in the larger sense that it would trigger new ideas and generate interest about words and phrases.
We were coming off of our book Coined by Shakespeare. That book includes about 240 words that first appeared in Shakespeare's plays.
Our purpose in doing the Bible book was to create non-threatening vignettes to provide numerous portals into the current thinking about language study. What we were really looking for was to offer readers possible connections to the universe of multi-disciplinary stuff that's out there. ...1
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