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It comes from the bible

Posted by R. Berg on December 03, 2005

In Reply to: It comes from the bible posted by David Chapman on December 03, 2005

: far be it from me to query a phrase BUT "etc. etc. it comes from the bible?"

: surely not since english was not the original language of the bible, it was translated ages ago. Surely it's simply the best literal translation of the phrase as used by the monks/priests who translated it. Not to be pedantic or anything :)

David, there are many translations of the Bible into English and other languages. (Translators aren't necessarily monks or priests.) Some were made "ages ago"; some are recent. Not all translations contain exactly the same books: Catholic Bibles include a few that Protestant Bibles leave out. The Jewish Bible is the Old Testament only. So you are correct in that an English phrase "from the Bible" isn't the original Greek or Hebrew text.

However, I don't see what difference that makes. We could say the same thing about English phrases drawn from Continental European literature. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" comes from Don Quixote, and you can bet Cervantes didn't write that in English.