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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Belief page.

He who believes needs no explanation[edit]

Some editors keep inserting these words and crediting them to Euripides, but they are not and were never his words. There is a very recent translation of Bacchae that uses the sentence, but

  1. It has a dramatically different meaning in context,
  2. Out of full context of the scene in Bacchae, only the translator can possibly be credited with the translation and
  3. The translator is not the first person to use this wording.

I suggest either leaving this quotation out or to give credit where credit is due. —Danorton (talk) 03:39, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The quote you have been removing, in its most recent form was presented thus:
  • Dionysus: He who believes needs no explanation.
    Pentheus: What's the worth in believing worthless things?
    Dionysus: Much worth, but not worth telling you, it seems.

This is quite accurate information that it is Colin Teevan's 2002 translation of a play of Euripides. Of course Euripides never spoke in English, and you might prefer another translation, but the source is a published translation which was properly identified, and should be retained, though other translations are quite welcome as well. ~ Kalki·· 03:45, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is exactly as written in the translation, but there is nothing in the original by Euripides that takes this meaning, which is conveyed out of context. You can pull the entire scene translated and credit it to Euripides, but not this line (or even the additional lines that were added — earlier lines are necessary, too). There are several lines in the translation that that drift in meaning from the lines in the original text. That’s fine for a translation of a work, but not for individual lines. In Greek, the corresponding line reads:

ἄρρητ᾽ ἀβακχεύτοισιν εἰδέναι βροτῶν. (line 472)

Another translation from 1850 that we can reference online is much closer to this original meaning:

It is unlawful for the uninitiated among mortals to know.

If you understand French, here is a translation to French that is also closer to this original meaning:

Il est interdit de les connaître quand on n'est pas initié aux mystères bachiques.

See the translations for the full context. The original meaning from Euripides is about the limitations of what knowledge mortals should possess and what should remain as unspoken (ἄρρητ᾽) secrets to mortals (βροτῶν). What Euripides wrote in this specific passage has no connection to belief, the topic of this article. —Danorton (talk) 04:17, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just returned, after taking a break from the internet, and I can see some of your objections have validity and agree the translation of those lines has some deficiencies or flaws in a literal sense, but assert the connections to belief are not entirely absent or excluded in the passages, because the original statements provided might be better translated without that word. Most things in the passage, like most things in life do have connections to various forms of beliefs or faiths in various ways — and I believe that even if this translation does speak of beliefs more directly and prominently than in the original, which emphasizes the processes of initiation and commitment, they should not be excluded, but some sort of note as to that fact can be included. I might put the passage back with greater emphasis on the fact that the emphasis on "belief" in this translation is not found in the original, which stresses "secrets" to be hidden from the uninitiated, or those not chosen by the gods. ~ Kalki·· 08:13, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would respectfully disagree, absent the full context of the passage. The excerpt you chose most recently excluded the leading question, which itself is quite different from the original. To properly frame the specific line that contains "believes" would require that you subordinate the line itself to a degree that would make its inclusion here absurd. If you feel that that wording is so important and different enough from the similar wording already listed and credited to Franz Werfel, I would urge you to find a notable person before Teevan's translation in 2001 that wrote or said it and use it instead (I don't believe that Teevan himself qualifies as someone "notable."). I see no evidence that Euripides had any similar meaning in mind and to suggest so would be false and misleading. —Danorton (talk) 16:12, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe your arguments are somewhat misleading, but will not pursue the matter thoroughly. I really find it puzzling why you object so strongly to having this translator's work quoted, even with a clear explanatory note pointing out relevant differences with the original, but I actually do not have so strong an inclination to include it on this page, having simply restored the quote after your initial deletion, so I will probably refrain from action on the matter, unless anyone else wishes to take up the defense of it. ~ Kalki·· 16:33, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]