[Ads-l] Saying: No explanation is needed for a believer; no explanation suffices for an unbeliever

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 7 12:54:44 EDT 2020


Jonathan Lighter asked me to explore the following saying:
To those who believe, no explanation is necessary; to those who do
not, no explanation is possible

It appeared without attribution in the prologue of the 1943 film "The
Song of Bernadette". Quotation references disagree about its
provenance.

I found the following concise instance in 1882:
No explanation is needed for a believer; no explanation suffices for
an unbeliever.

The Quote Investigator website now has an article on this topic:
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/08/07/believer/

The instance in the 1943 movie was credited to the priest John LaFarge
in the April 1934 issue of "The Reader's Digest". LaFarge stated in
his 1954 autobiography that he wrote the saying in "America" magazine.
He was clearly not the first person to formulate the saying, but it
would be useful to clarify when he wrote it.

The database "ProQuest Religious Magazine Archive" contains "America"
magazine. If you can access this database then you can help by
searching for the expression. If you need help formulating the search
query please let me know.

The article in "The Reader's Digest" was condensed from "Fortune"
magazine. EBSCO has a database of "Fortune". If you can access this
database then you can help by searching for the expression. If you
need help formulating the search query please let me know.

This saying is difficult to trace because it can be expressed in many
ways. The QI article presents several instances. Finding a match
before 1882 would be great.

Garson O'Toole
QuoteInvestigator.com

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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