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Things I’ve suspected #1,520 (Erroneous quotes edition)

You know all those famous quotes that people attribute to famous people? Like the quote “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her.” Probably not a C.S. Lewis quote (or a Maya Angelou one either). I think it’s Max Lucado but I haven’t found the source for it yet.

But anyways, here’s another one, coming from the theological types: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” At the theologically Wesleyan university that I attend, this line has always been attributed to John Wesley, beloved father of that theological tradition. I wondered this morning where he had said that, so I did a Google search… turns out it wasn’t him at all, though he no doubt subscribed to that school of thought.

Instead, it is a translation (poetic, too) of a line in a 1617 Latin book called “De Republica Ecclesiastica Libri X” by Marcus Antonius de Dominis—a man I have never heard of before now, but with a name and a book like that, he was probably a monk of some sort. (Turns out he was also an anti-Catholic?) Fortunately, Wikipedia cited volume and page number for this text: “unitatem in necessariis, in non necessariis libertatem, in omnibus caritatem” in Book 4, chapter 8, found in the first volume of this work on page 676. And altogether providential, Google Books had a full view of this very book. And there it was, near the very bottom of the page.

GB image of the latin quote

It’s mostly in the second full line from the bottom (in the third line if you count the half-a-word that got shoved down to another line).

And this is why I prefer to have volume-and-page-number (or chapter-and-verse) references for quotations.

Later, a true quotation that’s better in the original than in any of the misshapen forms it takes on in our muddled memories. And it’s Corrie ten Boom.


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