The King James Bible - some interesting historical tidbits
Here is an interesting article entitled, "How We Got the Best-Selling Book of All Time, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, August 26,2011 by Leland Ryken:
If that link does not work, click on this link to view a copy of the article:
I found it interesting that so many quotations from the King James Version are now common expressions in America; here are just some examples:
"the land of the living," "at their wit's end," "the salt of the earth," "the root of the matter," "labor of love," "fell flat on his face." as well as these famous Biblical passages:
"Give us this day our daily bread." "The Lord is my light and my salvation.""Godliness with contentment is great gain."
"When the famous sayings from the King James Version were extracted from Bartlett's Familiar Quotations into a freestanding book in 2005, the book ran to more than 200 pages!"
Written and Spoken Languages of the Bible
The main written languages
of the Bible are Hebrew (Old Testament) and Koine "common" Greek (New
Testament) with some quotations in Aramaic. The main spoken languages during Yeshua's time were Aramaic and Koine Greek (but Yeshua also knew Hebrew).
The Septuagint Bible on which the Catholic Bible is based on was written in Koine Greek based on a translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) plus some additional Hebrew writings. Protestant Bibles and modern Jewish Bibles do not include these additional Hebrew writings because they are not considered "inspired" by modern Jewish biblical authorities. (The Septuagint Bible was sponsored, as the story goes, by the Egyptian Plotemy II and translated by a group of seventy (or 72) Jewish scholars in the late 2nd century and early 3rd century BC.)
However, the Septuagint Bible was popular during Yeshua's time and many biblical experts claim that most of the quotations of the Old Testament found in the New Testament are from this Septuagint version since it was written in Koine "common" Greek, a language widely spoken by the Jews during the time of the New Testament events. Hebrew was not as well known or spoken during this time as much as Koine Greek and Aramaic.
Jesus probably spoke mostly in Aramaic, though he know Hebrew and Koine Greek as well.
One interesting reference to Latin, the language of the Roman Occupiers, was the reference in the gospels of Luke and John to the inscription written above the cross of Yeshua:
"And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." Luke 23:38 KJV