The Curmudgeon


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Good Book

Fewer than half of Britons believe that the Bible is an important book, and fewer still have much idea of its influence on the English language, laments the Bible Society, which has carried out a survey asking people to identify the source of Biblical phrases. With the blood of the NHS crying unto them from the ground, just over half of the respondents managed to recall the origins of "my brother's keeper"; but fewer than ten per cent knew that the phrases "a drop in the bucket" and "eat, drink and be merry" come from the Bible. More people ascribed the first to Tony Blair; in all fairness, the Bible is fond of mass murder and full of ridiculous claims which have been convincingly disproved, so they were certainly correct in spirit. More than forty per cent believed the phrase "eat, drink and be merry" came from Shakespeare, which isn't a bad guess; and eighteen per cent thought that "the writing on the wall" was from the Beatles, though slightly more got it right.

The culture programme manager at the Bible Society said: "It's clear that people's knowledge of the Bible is limited and they just don't realise how significant and wide-ranging its influence has been", and hoped that the anniversary of the Authorised Version would "help people, once again, to value the Bible". Disturbingly, there seems little interest in the Bible's moral influence: the importance of human sacrifice (Genesis, Judges); the wonders of slavery (Genesis, Titus); the wonders of concubinage (Genesis, etc.); the wonders of genocide (Genesis, Joshua, Revelation, etc., etc.); the wickedness of international Jewry (Matthew); and, for the ladies, the necessity of obedience (Ephesians) and the importance of sleeping your way to the top if you want your enemies properly killed (Esther), among much else.


  • At 7:41 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Yes but if they actually read it, they would not get to feel so sanctimonious.

    I also note this does not seem to have hurt sales of the book.


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