Essay on King James Bible Michal (Mickey) Grant

Submitted By Michalgrant1
Words: 1604
Pages: 7

What effect did the literal translations of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic within the King James Bible have on the English Language?
When William Tyndale translated the New Testament into English in 1526 he was charged with heresy and burnt at the stake, his last words were, "Lord, open the eyes of the king!" 85 years after Tyndale's work, King James I authorised a new translation of the whole Bible for use by the Church of England. The book has gone on to become the single most important English language book ever written, It has contributed over two hundred idioms to English and is still a source of comfort and advice for English speaking Christians, Agnostics and even some Atheists.
Despite the high regard the book is held in today in 1611 when the book was first published the book was filled with errors and mistranslations; it is reported that one early translation had printed “Judas” instead of “Jesus” in Mat. 26:36. Many English speakers found the book very hard to understand this is because the book was translated too literally. If I was to translate a French book into English, I would turn it into English phrase and not into French English. So for instance a French phrase such as “Il est chaud” if translated literally this would become “it makes hot," of course this doesn’t make sense in English and so a translator would instead change the phrase into “I am hot”, But the writers of the King James Bible chose to translate the book into English words rather than English phrases.
This has led to some idioms being misinterpreted and taking on different meanings in English than they had previously in Hebrew, One such example comes from Matthew 19:23-26 “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” This famous analogy has created the idiom “eye of a needle” which means literally the small hole in the needle and so when people hear “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” they think it is impossible for a rich man to go to heaven but this translation has possibly been taken too literally in fact When Jesus spoke of an eye of a needle many believe he meant a very small gate which a camel could only pass through if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. Another idiom from the bible which people still today struggle to fully grasp is from Matthew 6:23-24 “But if your eyes are bad, our whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is darkness! “For many years translators have struggled with the concept of the "evil eye." This idiom has created many problems, and has been misunderstood, because the translation from Hebrew was copied word for word rather than as a whole phrase. This idea was and still is today common in the Hebraic culture. Yet, if you pick up two different bibles the chances are they’ve chosen two separate words used to express this hidden Hebrew idiom. Each translation seems to deal with the issue differently. A few examples include, eye be whole, eye be simple, eye be sound, eye be plain, eye be healthy, sincere, clear, honest, or eye be good. But in fact the answer can be found quite easily if you look at the very next verse after the evil eye quotation, all is explained. "But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money," Matthew 6:23,24 NIV. When he spoke of the bad eye, Jesus wasn't talking about bad eye sight but about greed. Each time Jesus spoke of an eye being good or evil, or "plucking out the eye," he was speaking of the issue of greed. An evil eye is a greedy