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Sayings with Scriptural Backgrounds

When the Old Testament was translated from clerical Latin into the common spoken languages in the 16th century, it had a profound effect on European spoken languages and literature. Many of the phrases derived from this work are so common that people are often not even aware of the source. Here are some examples of phrases with a scriptural background that German and English languages use in everyday speech.



Und neunzehnhundertfünfundneunzig

And in nineteen ninety-five

hatte ich dann die erste Ausstellung zu diesem Thema ...

I then had the first exhibition on this theme ...

Es werde Licht“.

"Let there be light."

Captions 17-18, Malerei - Benno Treiber

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Essen kann er auch in Ruh'. Vater drückt ein Auge zu.

He can eat in peace. Father turns a blind eye.

Caption 4, Der Struwwelpeter - Ausschnitte

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Selbstverständlich, wie auf meinen eigenen Augapfel.

Of course, like the apple of my eye.

Caption 11, Abenteuer und Sport - Fallschirmspringen

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Hochmut kommt vor dem Fall.

Pride comes before the fall. [Pride goes before a fall.]

Caption 24, Eva erklärt - Sprichwörter

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Worte zu Asche und Staub zu Staub

Words to ashes and dust to dust

Caption 46, Luxuslärm - Interview

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The above is a play on the usual saying "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."


Further Learning
Be sure and see the latest Yabla video Eva erklärt - Sprichwörter for a selection of more German phrases on Yabla German

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