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Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

July-August 2008

Ken Bresler requests a source for “God looks down and judges.”

“Tyranny of the left versus that of the right…dogs and cats” (March-April). Thomas Owen forwarded this unattributed anecdote from Leo Tolstoy (1946; page 651), by Ernest J. Simmons: “When asked ‘Is there not a difference between the killing that a revolutionist does and that which a policeman does?’ Tolstoy answered: ‘There is as much difference between cat-shit and dog-shit. But I don’t like the smell of either one or the other.’”

“Carving nature at her joints” (May-June). Lydia Kirsopp Lake was the first to identify Plato as the ultimate source of this concept, seen (in Harold N. Fowler’s translations for the Loeb Classical Library) in Phaedrus 265 d-e, “dividing things again by classes, where the natural joints are, and not trying to break any part, after the manner of a bad carver,” and in Statesman 287c, “Let us divide them, then, like an animal that is sacrificed, by joints.”

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