Typology of Biblical Idioms: English−Ukrainian Binary Opposition

 © The Editorial Team of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 30, 2015, pp. 55-62

Typology of Biblical Idioms: English−Ukrainian Binary Opposition

Oksana Dzera

Article first published online: August 1, 2015 


Additional information

 Author Information: 

Oksana Dzera, docent, Associate Professor at Hryhoryi Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics in Lviv Ivan Franko National University. Correspondence: oksana.dzera@yahoo.com

Citation: 
Dzera, Oksana. Typology of Biblical Idioms: English−Ukrainian Binary Opposition [Text] / Oksana Dzera // 
Лінгвістичні студії : міжнародний зб. наук. праць. – Київ – Вінниця : ДонНУ, 2015. – Випуск 30. – С. 55-62.// Linguistic Studies : international collection of scientific papers / Donetsk National University Ed. by A. P. Zahnitko. – Donetsk : DonNU, 2015. – Vol. 30. – Pp. 55-62. 

Publication History:
Volume first published online: August 1, 2015

Article received: January 17, 2014, accepted: February 20, 2015 and first published online: August 1, 2015

Annotation.

The article elucidates the issue of Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition. The Ukrainian term “біблеїзм” and its English counterparts “Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression” are discriminated and the main parameters for the typology of the English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms are established.

Keywords: precedent phenomenon, primary Biblical idioms, secondary Biblical idioms, indirect Biblical idioms, transparent Biblical idioms, neutralized Biblical idioms, prototypical Biblical idioms, plot-based Biblical idioms, motivated Biblical idioms, Biblical intertext.


Abstract.

THE TYPOLOGY OF BIBLICAL IDIOMS: ENGLISH−UKRAINIAN BINARY OPPOSITION

Oksana Dzera

Hryhoryi Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics, Lviv Ivan Franko National University, Lviv, Lviv region, Ukraine

 

Available 17 January 2015.

 

Abstract

Relevance

The research of Biblical idioms is a topical problem at the interface of Translation Studies, cognitive linguistics and contrastive phraseology as it elucidates the specificity of the national lingual representation of the Bible as a precedent phenomenon. Not only do Biblical idioms make manifest the universal in the national but also raise some problems of conceptual deviations in the Bible interpretation.

Purpose

The purpose of the analysis is to establish taxonomic parameters of Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition.

Tasks

The purpose determines the following tasks: 1) to discriminate the Ukrainian term біблеїзм and its English counterparts Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression; 2) to establish main parameters for the typology of the English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms; 3) to view Biblical idioms as precedent phenomena of different levels of representation; 4) to analyze English and Ukrainian idioms according to the etymological and cognitive criteria; 5) to describe the inner semantic structure of Biblical idioms and their paradigmatic semantic relations.

Novelty

The novelty of the research lies in its being the first attempt to elaborate complex approach towards the Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition.

Theoretical value

The theoretical value of the study is determined by its integrated approach to the Biblical idioms analysis that makes them categories of different scholarly paradigms.

Practical value

Theoretical findings give reasons for the practical importance of the proposed research, which may be used in Translation Studies, cognitive linguistics, contrastive phraseology and other studies.

Conclusion

The elaborated taxonomic parameters of Biblical idioms typology within the English−Ukrainian binary opposition make manifest the necessity of the integrated approach which is supposed to encompass the study of the Biblical idiom as a precedent phenomenon as well as a nationally specific one whose variations are determined by etymological and cognitive factors. The difference in the use and functioning of Biblical idioms in English and Ukrainian is accounted for by the diversity of interpretations in national translations of the Holy Scripture and literary Biblical intertexts.

Perspective

The problem of Biblical idioms typology and the specificity of their functioning in the two languages require the coverage of different aspects that determine the necessity for future research.

 

Research highlights

► The article elucidates the issue of Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition. ► The Ukrainian term біблеїзм and its English counterparts Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression are discriminated and the main parameters for the typology of the English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms are established.

Keywords: precedent phenomenon, primary Biblical idioms, secondary Biblical idioms, indirect Biblical idioms, transparent Biblical idioms, neutralized Biblical idioms, prototypical Biblical idioms, plot-based Biblical idioms, motivated Biblical idioms, Biblical intertext.

 

References

Ahmanova, O. (1969). Bibleizm. Slovar' lingvisticheskix terminov. M.: Sov. E'nciklopediya.

Vereshhagin, E. (1993). Biblejskaya stihiya russkogo yazyka. Sbornik nauchnyh statej. Russkaya rech', 1993, 1, 90-98.

Volkov, Yu. (2001). Bibleyizm. Leksykon zahal'noho ta porivnyal'noho literaturoznavstva.  Chernivtsi: Zoloti lytavry, 67-68.

Gudkov, D. B. (2003). Teoriya i praktika mezhkul'turnoj kommunikacii. M.: ITDGK "Gnozi".

Zorivchak, R. (2005). Bolity bolem slova nashoho… Vyd-vo LNU im. I. Franka.

Kovaliv, Yu. (2007). Bibleyizm. Literaturoznavcha entsyklopediya. K.: VTs "Akademiya", 1, 126-127.

Mokienko, V. (2013) Bibleizmy v evropejskoj frazeologii i paremiologii. Die Slawische Phraseologie und die Bibel. Slavyanskaya frazeologiya i Bibliya. Greifswald – Sankt-Peterburg: Ružomberok, 144-153.

Shevel'ov, Yu. (1993). Bibleyizm. Entsyklopediya ukrayinoznavstva. K.: "Hlobus", 1, 24.

Chlebda, W. (2005). Szkice j skrzydlach slowach. Interpretecje lingwistyczne. Opole: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Opolskiego.

Lamsa, G. M. (1985). Idioms in the Bible Explained and a Key to the Original Gospel. HarperCollins Publ.

Robinson, D. (2001). Babel. Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation London and New York: Routledge, 21-22.

 

Sources and Abbreviations

Kulish, P., & Levyts'kyy, I., & Pulyuy, І. (1903). Bibliya. K.: Ukrayins'ke Bibliyne Tovarystvo. Trans.

Ohiyenko, I. (2002). Bibliya abo Knyhy Svyatoho Pys'ma Staroho i Novoho Zapovitu. K.: Ukrayins'ke Bibliyne Tovarystvo. Trans.

Khomenko, I. (1990). Svyate Pys'mo Staroho ta Novoho Zavitu. Vatykan: Editorial Verbo Divino. Trans.

HRNP (2006-2007). Halyts'ko-rus'ki narodni prypovidky. L'viv: Vyd. tsentr LNU im. I. Franka.

Koval', A. (2012). Spochatku bulo Slovo: Krylati vyslovy bibliynoho pokhodzhennya v ukrayins'kiy movi. K.: Lybid'.

Koloyiz, Zh. & Bakum, Z. (2002). Slovo Blahovisti: slovnyk-dovidnyk frazem bibliynoho pokhodzhennya. Kryvyy Rih: Vyd-vo "I. V. I.".

SFUM, (2008). Slovnyk frazeolohizmiv ukrayins'koyi movy. K.: Nauk. Dumka.

KJV. The Holy Bible (the King James Version). London: Trinitarian Bible Soc.

ODEI, (2009). Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

WDBQ, (1989). The Wordsworth Dictionary of Bible Quotations. Wordsworth Editions Ltd.

WDCLA, (1994). The Wordsworth Dictionary of Classical and Literary Allusions. Wordsworth Editions Ltd.

Webster (1999). Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. New York: Random House. New York : Random House.

 

Correspondence: oksanadzera@yahoo.com

Vitae

Oksana Dzera, docent, Associate Professor at Hryhoryi Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics in Lviv Ivan Franko National University. Areas of research interests include translation studies, comparative literature, contrastive phraseology, cognitive linguistics, Bible studies, and text linguistics.


Article.

Oksana Dzera

УДК [811.111’25:801.73]:27-27

TYPOLOGY OF BIBLICAL IDIOMS: ENGLISH−UKRAINIAN BINARY OPPOSITION

 

The article elucidates the issue of Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition. The Ukrainian term “біблеїзм and its English counterparts “Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression” are discriminated and the main parameters for the typology of the English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms are established.

Keywords: precedent phenomenon, primary Biblical idioms, secondary Biblical idioms, indirect Biblical idioms, transparent Biblical idioms, neutralized Biblical idioms, prototypical Biblical idioms, plot-based Biblical idioms, motivated Biblical idioms, Biblical intertext.

 

The research of Biblical idioms is a topical problem at the interface of Translation Studies, cognitive linguistics and contrastive phraseology as it elucidates the specificity of the national lingual representation of the Bible as a precedent phenomenon. Not only do Biblical idioms make manifest the universal in the national but also raise some problems of conceptual deviations in the Bible interpretation.

The purpose of the analysis is to establish taxonomic parameters of Biblical idioms typology within English−Ukrainian binary opposition.

The purpose determines the following tasks: 1) to discriminate the Ukrainian term біблеїзм and its English counterparts Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression; 2) to establish main parameters for the typology of the English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms; 3) to view Biblical idioms as precedent phenomena of different levels of representation; 4) to analyse English and Ukrainian idioms according to the etymological and cognitive criteria; 5) to describe the inner semantic structure of Biblical idioms and their paradigmatic semantic relations.

The first problem the researcher of Biblical phraseology in the English−Ukrainian binary opposition faces is the discrepancy and certain indeterminacy of terminology. The Ukrainian term біблеїзм and its English counterpart Biblicism are pseudo-internationalisms as the latter is used only in the sense of “literal interpretation of the Bible (Webster 1999: 203) while the Ukrainian (or rather Slavonic) term біблеїзм has one literary studies meaning and two linguistic ones. Within the framework of literary studies біблеїзм is viewed as a reference to the Bible (allusion, quotation or reminiscence) [Волков 2001: 68; Ковалів 2007: 126-127]. In the broad linguistic sense біблеїзм is treated as a word or word-combination whose origin can be deduced from the Bible or which has obvious associations with the Bible [Шевельов 1993: 124; Ахманова 1969: 66]. In the narrow linguistic sense it is a phraseological unit whose prototype is found either in the Bible or apocrypha [Зорівчак 2005: 131; Мокиенко 2013: 149; Chlebda 2005: 213; Верещагин 1993: 97]. English equivalents of the Ukrainian term біблеїзм are Biblical expression, Biblical (Bible) allusion, Biblical (Bible) quotation and Biblical (Bible) idiom. The subject of this investigation is Biblical idiom that is viewed as a connotonym (proper noun that has developed secondary connotation) or set expression (phraseological unit, proverb, saying or maxim) whose source is the Bible, apocrypha or liturgy. A distinctive feature of Biblical idioms is their functioning in non-Biblical contexts in literary, colloquial and dialectal speech.

The typology of English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms is elaborated according to a number of taxonomic parameters and sums up the achievements of key specialists in general and contrastive phraseology, Biblical one in particular, such as V. Chlebda, D. Crystal, K. Dubrovina, V. Hak, A. Kunin, G. Lamsa, V. Mokienko, S. Shulezhkova, Ye. Vereshchagin, H. Walter, R. Zorivchak, and others.

Biblical idioms in English and Ukrainian binary opposition can be classified according to the following parameters:

I. the character of their representation as precedent phenomena[1]:

1)  universally-precedent Biblical idioms are based on common image (the first sense layer) representing a Biblical situation and  

а) have common meaning (the second sense layer); e.g.: prodigal son / блудний син, manna from heaven / манна небесна, to cast pearls before swine / метати (розсипати) бісер (перла) перед свинями; the widows mite / лепта вдовиці ;

б) have partially divergent meanings as a result of foregrounding different components of the same Biblical situation; e.g. English idiom Sodom and Gomorrah is “bywords for depravity” (WDCLA 1994: 207)), because “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (KJV: Genesis 13:13). The meaning of the corresponding Ukrainian expression велике безладдя; метушня, шум” (СФУМ 2008: 676), юрба, збіговисько людей, сповнених жаху, обурення, роздратування” [Коваль 2012: 43] is associated with the story about an uproar made by Sodomites at the gate of Lot’s house and – implicitly − with the final mention about the destruction of the sinful cities. Very rarely does the Ukrainian idiom denote “depravity”, mainly in the truncated variant содом.

2)  nationally-precedent Biblical idioms may be;

а) equivalent in meanings (the second sense layer) but different in images encoding

· different parts of the same Biblical situation; comp. the English idiom lilies of the field and the Ukrainian idiom божа пташка (птиця небесна, що не жне, не сіє) (“той, хто не відчуває труднощів життя, вільний від них; безтурботна людина”) (СФУМ 2008: 583) derive from the Sermon on the Mount where Christ suggests that spiritual things are superior to any material object of this world. Yet English foregrounds the image of flowers that “toil not, neither do they spin” while in Ukrainian the focus of attention is shifted to birds that “sow not, neither do they reap” [Matthew 6:25−28];

· different Biblical situations; e.g. the proverb the leopard cannot change his spots derives from Jeremiah 13:25[2] and denotes “impossibility to change the human nature” (WDCLA 1994: 131). The Ukrainian counterpart of this exotic image is a colloquial expression горбатого (лише) могила виправить (горбатого не виправиш). However, this politically incorrect image refers to the Book of Ecclesiastes developing the well-known idea about the vanity of all; comp.: Покривленого не направиш, а неіснуючого не полічиш(Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: Книга Екклезіястова 1:15);

б) non-equivalent; e.g.: the Biblical idiom at the eleventh hour (“at the last possible moment, but just not too late for something to happen” (WDBQ 1989: 127)) refers to the time of the hiring of the final workers in Jesus’ parable  about the labourers in the vineyard [KJV: Мathew 20:6]; the idiom by the skin of one’s teeth refers to the Book of Job 18:20 where righteous Job whose faith is tested by the Satan describes his sufferings: “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth (KJV: Job 18:20). This Biblical episode is interpreted very ambiguously in Ukrainian translations of the Holy Scripture; comp.: До шкіри моєї й до тіла мого приліпилися кості мої, ще біля зубів лиш зосталася шкіра моя(Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002); “Тіло у мене згнило в моїй шкірі, а кості мої вистають з-під шкіри, як зуби” (Біблія пер. Хоменка 1990); “У моїй шкірі зігнило моє тіло, мої ж кості в зубах тримаються” (Біблія пер. Турконяка). This might be the reason that it has not got fixed on the idiomatic level of the language, its partial equivalents being “ледве, насилу, якимось чудом, дивом”.

3) territory-precedent Biblical idioms are limited to the use in a dialect (dialects); e.g.: Adam and Eve (“believe”) from Cockney rhyming slang; було ся не облизувати, Адаме! (joke, “коли чоловік терпить через жіночі спокуси” (ГРНП 2006: 1: 26]) from the early 20th c. Halychyna dialect.

4) occupationally-precedent Biblical idioms are used or acquire specific meaning within a professional slang; e.g. the tower of Babel / Вавилонська вежа or rather the destruction of the Tower of Babel is perceived as a symbol of the translating matter. This translation myth is aptly described by D. Robinson: “Exit the Lord or that group of gods that the Old Testament called Elohim (…), exit also the people dwelling in the land of Shinar – and enter the translator, the only person capable of remedying, even slightly, the scattering of tongues at Babel” [Robinson 2001: 21]. The evidence of occupationally precedent character of this Biblical idiom is the title of the journal of the International Translators’ Federation Babel, monograph After Babel (1975) by G. Steiner, deconstructive research by J. Derrida Des Tours de Babel (1980), P. Mullen’s book New Babylon (1987).

ІІ. etymology:

1) primary Biblical idioms function:

а) in the OT where they reflect Hebrew-Aramaic phraseology; e.g. poison of a serpent / зміїна отрута (KJV: Ps. 58:4) denotes “slander”;  

б) in the NT referring to the OT or eschatological prophesies; e.g. idiom wash one’s hands / умивати руки which means “to relegate responsibility”, is traditionally associated with the story about Pilate who washed his hands in public as a sign of his dissociation from the desire of people to crucify Jesus. However, this Judaic tradition is found in the OT instructions of Deuteronomy (Повторення Закону 21:6−7): in case a man was found slain by an unknown murderer, the elders of that city were to wash their hands over the sacrificial calf. In psalms this expression is already used idiomatically as an exemption from guilt: “I wash my hands in innocence” (KJV: Ps. 26:6) / “Умию в невинності руки свої” (Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: Пс. 25(26):6);

с) in the NT, mainly in Christ’s parables and sermons, in the metaphorical sense; e.g. the prototype of the idiom put new wine into old bottles /влити нове вино в старі міхи (“one cannot create anything new without breaking off with the old”) is the parable where Jesus explains the difference between Pharisees’ teaching and his mission while the wine and the bottles metaphorically represent the content and form of institutions and doctrines.  

It is not an easy task to determine the degree of originality of NT metaphors that generated Biblical idioms; е.g. idiom fishers of men (souls) / ловці людей (душ) (“people exerting great influence on others”) refers to the story of Jesus’ encounter with fishermen Peter and Andrew who were to become the first apostles (Matthew 4:18−22). Yet in the OT influence, though negative one, is also compared to fishing; comp.: “(…) as the fishes that are taken in an evil net (…); so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them” (KJV: Eccl. 9:12) / (…) немов ті риби, що ловляться у вражий невід, (…) так само й люди потрапляють у знегоду, коли вона злетить на них зненацька” (Біблія пер. Хоменка 1990: Проповідник 9:12). Besides, NT idioms may be affected by the Greek phraseology, e.g. the idiom reap where one sowed not / жати, де не сіяв is thought to have derived from the Greek idiom to reap someone else’s harvest / жати чуже жниво [Коваль 2012: 208].

When entering a language primary Biblical idioms can:

· preserve their meaning intact; e.g.: as the stars of heaven / як зірок на небі, to keep as the apple of his eye / берегти як зіницю ока, by their fruit ye shall know them / за їхніми плодами ви пізнаєте їх, the lost sheep / заблудла (заблукана вівця) and others.;

· lose their meaning through deviations in translations of the Holy Scripture, in particular, through the misinterpretation of one of the key words of the prototype of the idiom. In the 1930s G. Lamsa, a Bible translator and specialist in Aramaic, compiled a dictionary of the Bible primary idioms with a view to correct errors that had crept into Biblical scholarship and Bible translations. One of his most striking examples is the idiom let the dead bury their dead / зостав мертвим ховати мерців своїх whose modern meaning isthink about the concerns of the present time, not the past(WDCLA 1994: 58), “сміливо поривати з тим, що віджило, відмерло, зотліло” [Коваль 2012: 170]. It alludes to Jesus’ conversation with His disciple: “And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead (Matthew 8:21–22). Lamsa’s interpretation softens Jesus’ harsh answer considerably: in the East the expression to bury one’s father means “to support the old father until he dies”, as the man over seventy was considered dead and entrusted everything to his elder son. The mysterious formula of the dead burying the dead can be explained by the confusion of the words matta (town) and metta (dead). Minute Aramaic characters used to discriminate those words might have been ruined in a mutilated manuscript, this changing the simple and logical phrase let the city bury its dead ” [Lamsa 1985: 100].

Such “a penetration into the lower layers of phraseological palimpsest” can lead to extremely unexpected conclusions; e.g. V. Mokiyenko [Мокиенко 2013] attracts attention to the Biblical idiom to cast pearls before swine / метати (розсипати) бісер (перла) перед свинями which is based on absolutely the same image in all European languages and yet it misinterprets the Greek prototype. The scholar has found an intersemiotic prompt on the picture of the Dutch painter Peter Breigel Dutch proverbs where swine eat daisies. The explanation lies in the polysemy of the Greek word margaritas (pearls, daisies, crumbs of the sanctified bread). The correct translation of the expression would be: “Don’t give the sanctified bread to swine” / “Не кидайте свиням освяченого хліба”.

· lose their primary meaning through deviations in post-Biblical intertext. An idiom can acquire a culturally specific sense or even become a national cultural concept. E.g. in English and Ukrainian the idiom burning bush / неопалима купина denotes Gods immanence in nature (WDCLA 1994: 35), also staunchness in general [Коваль 2012: 61], “те, що не можна знищити, що відзначається святістю” [Колоїз, Бакум 2002: 49]. Besides, it is one of the OT prototypes of the Holy Mary in the Orthodox tradition. Yet in the Ukrainian culture неопалима купина symbolizes resurrection of Ukraine as an analogue to the mythical bird Phoenix that rises to another life out of its own ashes[3]. According to G. Lamsa, burning bush in the OT originally symbolizes difficulties ahead which will be overcome as the bush is not consumed.

2) secondary Biblical idioms function as free word combinations in the text of the Bible, primarily, in the NT and have acquired the idiomatic status outside the Biblical text; e.g. the idiom dig one’s talent in the earth / зарити (закопати) талант у землю refers to the parable of talents where the slothful servant instead of multiplying the coin (talent) given by his lord hid it in the earth (Мatthew 25:24−30);

3) indirect Biblical idioms (the term by H. Walter and A. Mokienko) derive from apocryphal sources and liturgy. As apocrypha and liturgy are culture specific, indirect idioms often have no equivalents in other languages; e.g. the idiom flourish like the green bay tree (“to be exuberantly prosperous and healthy” (WDBQ 1989: 195) alludes to the Anglican Book of Common Prayers (1662). Apocryphal variants of the first murder stories generated nationally precedent Biblical idioms брат брата підняв на вила and man on the moon.

ІІI. cognition:

1) transparent Biblical idioms are associated with the Holy Scripture in the lingual consciousness of a given nation / nations; e.g. the forbidden fruit / заборонений плід; to carry one’s cross / нести свій хрест;

2) polygenetic Biblical idioms[4] are associated with Biblical intertexts, mainly authoritative statements or works of verbal and synthetic art where expressions from the Bible acquire a new sense. Not infrequently do polygenetic Biblical idioms contain culture specific senses due to the nationally precedent nature of their mediating source; e.g. an idiomatic favourite in American political speeches is the expression the shining city on the hill. It refers to Matthew 5:14 where Jesus addresses his followers: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (KJV: Mathew 5:14). Yet since 1630 after being used by J. Winthrope, one of the first American colonists, the shining city on the hill has become a symbol of American exceptionalism, the leading mission of the USA in the world. The same concerns the idiom house divided, the unofficial title and the key image of Lincoln’s speech in 1858. President Poroshenko’s uses the parallel image in his speech at the opening session of Verkhovna Rada: “Євангеліє вчить, що царства, які розділені в собі, впадуть”. Biblical etymology of the Ukrainian idiom всевидящеє око whose immediate source is Taras Shevchenko’s Юродивийis very complex: Ya. Dzyra refers it to Velychko’s Chronicle. A. Koval’ and A. Moisienko see it source in Christian symbolism where the power of God is depicted as an eye framed in the triangle [Коваль 2012: 288]. However, this image can be found in the very Bible, namely in the Second Book of Chronicles: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (KJV: II Chronicles: 16:9);

3) neutralized Biblical idioms have lost all associations with the Bible as speakers perceived them as folk poetic set expressions. This type of Biblical idioms is outlined, in particular, by R. Zorivchak (“Окремі біблеїзми так глибоко ввійшли в наш побут, що їхня, так би мовити, «біблійність» аж ніяк не відчувається” [Зорівчак 2005: 134]); e.g. the idiom to kick against the pricks / йти (перти) проти рожна (лізти на рожен) may seem colloquial, yet its Biblical prototype is the address of Jesus (voice from the heaven) to His persecutor Saul before the transformation of the latter into apostle Paul “I am Jesus whom thou persecutests: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (KJV: Acts 9:5) / “Я Ісус, котрого ти гониш. Трудно тобі проти рожна прати (упиратись)” (Біблія 1903: Дії 9:5)[5].

ІVrelations with the Biblical prototype:

1) prototypical idioms quote the Holy Scripture literally in one of the Bible translations, mainly authorized ones. For the Brits this secondary Biblical source is, first of all, the KJV of 1611 while for Ukrainians it’s the Church Slavonic translation. English and Ukrainian Biblical idioms differ substantially according to functional and stylistic parameters. The language of the KJV belongs to early Modern English period while Church Slavonic was the bookish language of the Slavs in the 9-11th c. based on Old Bulgarian. Therefore, Ukrainian Biblical idioms, more often than English ones, contain morphological and lexical archaisms indicating their Biblical origin and creating solemn mood; comp. as a thief in the night / яко тать в нощі, burning bush / неопалима купина. Nevertheless, the reverse situation is also possible when English Biblical idiom contains archaism while its Ukrainian counterpart has modern structure; comp.: quick and the dead / живі і мертві. This idiom refers to several books of the NT (Acts 10:42; 2 Tym. 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5): Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (KJV: 1 Peter 4:5) / “Вони дадуть відповідь Тому, Хто судитиме живих і мертвих” (Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: 1 Петро 4:5). The word quick is used in the archaic meaning “alive”. Simultaneous actualization of modern and archaic meanings set the foundation for the intertextual pun in the title of smash hit American film of the 1990s Quick and the Dead about the Wild West shooting competition where the quickest shooter remains alive.

Ukrainian Biblical idioms of Church Slavonic origin whose prototypes in the Holy Scriptures describe “lofty” situation (e.g. acts or words of Christ) or tragic situation often contain ironical functional and stylistic connotation; e.g. ізбієніє младєнцев, явлення Христа народові, не од світу цього (нє от міра сєго).

Both languages include Biblical idioms in Latin whose source is the Vulgate or Catholic liturgy; e.g. Fiat lux!, Ave Maria, Quo Vadis.

2) plot-based Biblical idioms that are compressed microtexts encoding a Biblical situation; e.g. the idiom Methusalah’s ages / Мафусаїлів вік (“longevity”) derives from the list of Adam’s pre-flood descendants with the exact indication of their age (Methuselah lived 969 years); the idiom counsel of perfection (“any impossible idea” (WDCLA 1994: 49)) encodes the story about Christ’s talk with a pious youth who wanted to receive eternal life, however Jesus’ advice to give all his wealth to the poor proved beyond his moral capacity. In conclusion Jesus pronounces a well-known phrase: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God(KJV: Маtthew 19: 16−26).

3) motivated (actualized) Biblical idioms create a new image on the basis of a Biblical microtext; e.g. the Ukrainian idiom жити Валтасаром (жити весело, безтурботно, в той час, як над головою вже збираються грізні хмари близького нещастя” [Коваль 2012: 137]) sums up the story about the Babylonian king who entertains himself at the tough hour for his state (Daniel 5); the idiom співати Лазаря (скаржитися, прибіднюватися” [Коваль 2012: 249]) ironically reinterprets the image of Lazarus, the poorest Biblical character “who laid at the gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores” (KJV: Luke 16:20−21). The English idiom to raise Cain (cain) has two meanings: “behave in an extravagantly noisy, unrestrained or riotous way; complain, protest, exert one’s authority, etc. angrily or violently” (ODEI 2009: 473). Both meanings deduce from the story about fratricide such Cain’s features as lack of restraint and protest against the authority. Motivated idioms lack direct prototypes in the text of the Bible and, therefore, are often nationally precedent.

V. inner semantic relations:

1) monosemantic Biblical idioms; e.g. a drop in the ocean / крапля в морі; out of the mouthes of babes and sucklings / устами немовляти.

2) polysemantic Biblical idioms where polysemy often borders on enantiosemy. This concerns primarily idioms with archaisms in their structure; e.g. the idiom нічтоже сумняся (сумняшеся) has enantiosemantic correlation with its prototype in the NT. Apostle James advises asking God’s counsel нічтоже сумняшеся (“in faith, nothing wavering” (KJV: James 1:5−6)). In contrast, the idiomatic counterpart of this phrase is used as ironical characteristics of the deeds of conceited people. Yet this idiom may acquire positive evaluation of confidence; it is in this positive sense that O. Zabuzhko makes it one of the key words of her idiostyle.

VI. paradigmatic semantic relations:

1) radial Biblical idioms are linked to the nuclear idiom; e.g. nuclear unit Каїн і Авель is semantically related to a number of others: брат брата підняв на вила (підняв на вилах як Каїн Авеля); брат пішов на брата, (не) сторож брата свого, каїнова душа, каїнове тавро (каїнова печать). Comp. in English: Cain and Abel not my brother’s keeper, Cain’s mark, Cain’s curse, to raise cain.

2) chain Biblical idioms establish relationship of cause and effect or explanatory relationship; e.g. cast money changers out of the temple / гнати крамарів (торгующих) із храму (“any attack on commercialism in religion or any other spiritual endeavour” (WDCLA 1994: 41) den of thieves / печера розбійників (“the desecrated matter or place”). Both Biblical idioms allude to the Gospel of Mark 11:15−17 and are linked through relationship of cause and effect.

The chain of Biblical idioms is generated by the warning Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits(KJV: Matthew 7:15−16) / “Стережіться фальшивих пророків, що приходять до вас ув одежі овечій, а всередині – хижі вовки. По їхніх плодах ви пізнаєте їх” (Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: Матвій 7:15−16); see: false prophets / фальшиві пророки (лжепророки) → beware of false prophets / стережіться лжепророків → wolves in sheeps clothing / вовк в овечій шкурі → Ye shall know them by their fruits / По їхніх плодах ви пізнаєте їх.

3) synonymic Biblical idioms; e.g. forbidden fruit / заборонений плід − Eves apple / яблуко спокуси; Cains stigma / каїнове тавро – Cains mark / каїнова печать. Of special interest is the synonymic pairChurch-SlavonicUkrainian idiom proper”; comp.: ізбієніє младєнцев / побиття немовлят; глас вопіющого в пустелі – голос волаючого в пустелі;

4) antonymic Biblical idioms; comp. to build his house upon the sand to build his house upon the rock;

5) partially antonymic Biblical idioms contain a common key word with a variant positive or negative connotation; comp. Biblical idioms with the key word cup / чаша. The image of the cup is bestowed with double axiology in the OT and symbolizes the human fate determined by God. God provides his benefits for the righteous (my cup runneth over” / переливається мій кубок” (Біблія пер. Хоменка 1990: Пс. 23(22):5)[6], the sinners are destined to drink the cup of the Lord’s fury / чашу гніву Господнього (Ісая 51:17, 22; Єремія 25:15−18). In the NT the cup of the Lord / Чаша Господня, the symbol of the saved mankind, is contrasted to the cup of devils which is thought to be associated with heathen feasts (1 Cor. 10:16). Jesus also mentions His cup implying his future sufferings. Enantiosemy of the word cup in the Biblical context have generated idioms with opposite evaluative connotations, in particular, positively marked idioms: one’s cup is full (one’s cup overfloweth; one’s cup runneth over) / повна чаша and negatively marked ones: drink (drain) a cup of sorrow/ випити гірку чашу (випити чашу до дна); нехай обмине ця чаша мене; чаша (терпіння) переповнилася.

           The elaborated taxonomic parameters of Biblical idioms typology within the English−Ukrainian binary opposition make manifest the necessity of the integrated approach which is supposed to encompass the study of the Biblical idiom as a precedent phenomenon as well as a nationally specific one whose variations are determined by etymological and cognitive factors. The difference in the use and functioning of Biblical idioms in English and Ukrainian is accounted for by the diversity of interpretations in national translations of the Holy Scripture and literary Biblical intertexts. The problem of Biblical idioms typology and the specificity of their functioning in the two languages require the coverage of different aspects that determine the necessity for future research


[1] This taxonomic parameter is partly based on the typology of precedent phenomena elaborated by D. Gudkov [Гудков: 104–105].

[2] Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (KJV: Jeremiah 13:25])

[3] E. g. Maksym Ryl’s’kyi’s poem “Неопалима купина” (1943), the key statement of Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s cinematographic story “Україна в огні” (1943): “І стоїть Україна перед нашим духовним зором у вогні, як неопалима купина”. The generation of the 1960s associates the expression неопалима купина with the title of the collection by Yu. Kolisnychenko and S. Plachynda about famous Ukrainians – Roksolana, Ye. Hulevychivna, F. Prokopovych, M. Berezovs’kyi, A. Vedel’.

[4] The term polygenetic quotation is introduced by Z. Mints who defines it as a sign of several texts that functions as their compressed program and preserve all meanings acquired in them.

[5] The last question is absent in most Greek translations, therefore some Ukrainian translators of the Bible omit it (I, Khomenko) or use different images; e.g.: “Трудно тобі бити ногою колючку!” (Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: Дії 9:5).

[6]Моя чашато надмір пиття” (Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: 22 (23):5).

References. 

References

Ахманова 1969: Ахманова, О. Библеизм [Текст] / О. Ахманова // Словарь лингвистических терминов / Изд. 2-ое, стереотип. – М. : Сов. Энциклопедия, 1969. – С. 66.

Верещагин 1993: Верещагин, Е. Библейская стихия русского язика : Сборник научных статей [Текст] / Е. Верещагин // Русская речь. − № 1. − 1993. – С. 90-98.

Волков 2001: Волков, Ю. Біблеїзм [Текст] / Ю. Волков // Лексикон загального та порівняльного літературознавства. – Чернівці : Золоті литаври, 2001. – C. 67-68.

Гудков 2003: Гудков, Д.Б. Теория и практика межкультурной коммуникации [Текст] / Д. Б. Гудков. – М. : ИТДГК “Гнози”, 2003. – 286, [1] с.

Зорівчак 2005: Зорівчак, Р. Боліти болем слова нашого… [Текст] / Р. Зорівчак. − Вид-во ЛНУ ім. І. Франка, 2005. – 295 с.

Ковалів 2007: Ковалів, Ю. Біблеїзм [Текст] / Ю. Ковалів // Літературознавча енциклопедія : У 2 т. / авт.-уклад. Ковалів Ю. І. – К. : ВЦ «Академія», 2007. – Т. 1. − С. 126-127.

Мокиенко 2013: Мокиенко, В. Библеизмы в европейской фразеологии и паремиологии [Текст] / В. Мокиенко // Die Slawische Phraseologie und die Bibel. Славянская фразеология и Библия / Redaktion : D. Walter, V. Mokienko, D. Balakova. – GreifswaldSankt-PeterburgRužomberok, 2013. − С. 144-153.

Шевельов 1993: Шевельов, Ю. Біблеїзм [Текст] / Ю. Шевельов // Енциклопедія українознавства : В 11 т. – К. : «Глобус», 1993. – Т. 1. – С. 24.

Chlebda 2005: Chlebda, W. Szkice j skrzydlach slowach. Interpretecje lingwistyczne : monogr. [Text] / W. Chlebda. – Opole : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, 2005. – 527 s.

Lamsa 1985: Lamsa, G. M. Idioms in the Bible Explained and a Key to the Original Gospel [Text] / G. M. Lamsa. – HarperCollins Publ., 1985.  – 105 pp.

Robinson 2001: Robinson, D. Babel [Text] / D. Robinson // Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies / Ed. by M. Baker. – London and New York : Routledge, 2001. – Pp. 21-22.

 

Sources and Abbreviations

Біблія 1903: Святе Письмо Старого та Нового Завіту : [пер. П. Куліш, І. Левицький та І. Пулюй] [Текст]. – К. : Українське Біблійне Товариство, 2003. – 1104 c.

Біблія пер. Огієнка 2002: Біблія або Книги Святого Письма Старого і Нового Заповіту : [пер. І. Огієнко] [Текст]. – К. : Українське Біблійне Товариство, 2002. – 1375 c.

Біблія пер. Хоменка 1990: Святе Письмо Старого та Нового Завіту : [пер. І. Хоменко] [Текст]. – Ватикан : Editorial Verbo Divino, 1990. – 1442 c.

ГРНП 2006-2007: Галицько-руські народні приповідки : у 3 т. / зібр., упоряд. і поясн. І. Я. Франко [Текст] / І. Франко. − 2-е вид. – Львів : Вид. центр ЛНУ ім. І. Франка, 2006-2007. – Т. 1–3.

Коваль 2012: Коваль. А. Спочатку було Слово : Крилаті вислови біблійного походження в українській мові / А. Коваль – Вид. 2-ге. – К. : Либідь, 2012. – 312 с.

Колоїз, Бакум 2002: Колоїз. Ж., Бакум. З. Слово Благовісті : словник-довідник фразем біблійного походження [Текст] / Ж. Колоїз, З. Бакум. − Кривий Ріг : Вид-во “І. В. І.”, 2002. – 96 с.

СФУМ 2008: Словник фразеологізмів української мови / уклад. Білоноженко В. М. та ін. [Текст] / Укл. В. М. Білоноженко. – К. : Наук. думка, 2008. −1104 с.

KJV: The Holy Bible (the King James Version). – London : Trinitarian Bible Soc., s. a. – 1152 pp.

ODEI 2009: Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms / Comp. by A. Cowie, R. Mackin & I. McCaig [Text] / A. Cowie, R. Mackin & I. McCaig. – Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press, 2009. – 685 pp.

WDBQ 1989: The Wordsworth Dictionary of Bible Quotations / Comp. by M. H. Manser [Text] / M. H. Manser. – Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1989. – 264 pp.

WDCLA 1994: The Wordsworth Dictionary of Classical and Literary Allusions / Comp. by A. H. Lass, D. Kiremidjian & R. M. Goldstein [Text] / A. H. Lass, D. Kiremidjian & R. M. Goldstein. – Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1994. – 240 pp.

Webster 1999: Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary [Text]. – Second ed. – New York : Random House, 1999. – 2230 pp.

 

У статті висвітлено проблему типології біблеїзмів в англо-українській бінарній опозиції. Окреслено різницю між українським терміном “біблеїзм” та його англійськими відповідниками “Biblical idiom, Biblical allusion, Biblical quotation, Biblical expression”. Встановлено головні параметри типології англійських і українських біблеїзмів

Ключові слова: прецедентний феномен, первинні біблеїзми, вторинні біблеїзми, непрямі біблеїзми, прозорі біблеїзми, нейтралізовані біблеїзми, прототипові біблеїзми, сюжетні біблеїзми, мотивовані біблеїзми, біблійний інтертекст.

Available 17 January 2015.