Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Influence of the Bible upon English Words

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Influence of the Bible upon English Words

Article excerpt


The Holy Bible, which has been included on the list of World Cultural Heritages, is the source of western culture, has had a profound influence on all aspects of the social life of the western countries. A large number of English words and allusions are from The Bible, and these words and allusions is a key to understanding and studying western languages and culture. Therefore, discussing the profound influence of The Bible upon English words at this level is of great significance. This paper begins with the English words sourced from The Bible, and then probes into the influences upon the English language. This thesis can increase the readers' Bible knowledge, eliminate the cultural barrier in trans- cultural communication and make readers understand and use English language to make trans-cultural communication better. Through this thesis, we can view the Holy Bible's great influence in the Western countries from another angle, and we also can get a new field and a new way of viewing and analyzing the Holy Bible. Meanwhile, this thesis is helpful for us to analyze and study English language. Especially, it is greatly helpful to study the developing process and features of English language, and the origin of English words.

Key words: The Bible; English; Words; Influence


The Bible, which is a classical work of the Christianity, is also a precious inheritance of the Hebrew culture. The Christianity culture has permeated deeply into the English language; it has influenced English words, idioms and mottoes very much. The Bible records the conditions and local customs and practices of the ancient people, society, and polity, military and so on, among which philosophy and theology have been spread broadly, which has brought huge influences on the world especially on the development, ideology and cultural conventions of the western society, and the influences are much more profound and widespread on the American and Britain languages. Particularly, the King James Bible published in 1611, with its brief but natural, specific but graceful language, keeping the essence of two ancient languages, Greek and Hebrew, making it be harmony with the style of the English, it specified and unified the English language, broadened the use of English, and enriched the English language greatly. For centuries, The Bible has been widely spread and referenced by people; it is of great importance in the formation process of the English language, it is the treasure house of English words, idioms, allusions and mottoes.

Xu Guozhang had pointed out that people learning foreign languages should be cultural people, if teachers just teach language, and students just learn grammar, words and so on, the teaching process would be a process of building castles in the air, which is a mistake of the teaching of foreign language. Wang Zuoliang had also indicated that in the process of cross-cultural communication, the translators should really be men of culture, it is not enough for them to master just two languages, and no one can really master the language without understanding the related social cultural. Therefore, it is unshirkable for teachers to carry out the culture teaching in English language teaching activities, and students should attach importance to learning the culture of The Bible contained in the language.

Many people are using The Bible as their scriptures and a guide of their future behavior. We can say that Bible is a history: it records the past of the Western countries, the Mid-east, and particularly the Jewish people's growth and experiences. The Bible is a philosophical book. It includes many ancient minority groups' thoughts on the meaning of humanity, and the origin and the development of the universe. The Bible is a book of culture: it is the repository of myths, legends, fables, idioms, and provides endless resources for European and American culture, the music of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Renaissance, as well as for the paintings and sculptures of the Baroque time. …

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