God in the deatils (1960); No names, no pack-drill (1930)

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Tue Jan 25 20:22:41 UTC 2005

On Jan 25, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Fred Shapiro wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: God in the deatils (1960); No names, no pack-drill
> (1930)
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> On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> The version with "devil" is so common that the "God" version becomes
>> much more fascinating.
> I always thought of the "god" version as the primary saying and the
> "devil" one as a less common derivative, but a Google search shows
> 18,000
> hits for "god" and 109,000 for "devil."  It may be that the currency of
> "god is in the details" is mostly in architecture contexts whereas
> "devil
> is in the details" has become a popular general proverb.  Seems like
> one
> of those situations where there are two proverbs that are opposite in
> import.
> Fred Shapiro

How old would you guess the "God" version to be? Back in the very early
'80's, I was an assistant librarian in an academic architectural
library for about three years, without ever hearing - my housemate was
a student at that school of architecture and my girlfriend was one of
my colleagues - or reading the "God" version. On the other hand, I've
been familiar with the "devil" version practically since I got past
seeing Dick and Jane run in the mid '40's.

-Wilson Gray

> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
> Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
> Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF
>   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
> Yale Law School                             forthcoming
> e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu
> http://quotationdictionary.com
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---

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