Antedating of "Biblical"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Oct 15 20:40:19 UTC 2011

Here's an interesting antedating.  Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but the OED first use for _biblical_ is so late that it almost seems like the editors lost a batch of slips.  It's one of the few antedatings I ever found that made me feel that way (another one was _literary_, which the original OED dated 1749 although Francis Bacon had used it in 1605 and Samuel Johnson had used it frequently beginning in 1734).

biblical (OED 1790)

1684 John Lightfoot _The works of the Reverend and learned John Lightfoot D. D._ Preface (Early English Books Online)  This is very precarious, and such an Ellipsis ... as seems contrary to the Genius of the Biblical _Hebrew_.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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