In Theologia quidem authoritatum, in Philosophia vero rationum esse momenta ponderanda

By Paul17, in 'Latin to English Translation', May 12, 2019.

  1. Paul17 New Member

    I am trying to validate a quote attributed to Johannes Kepler. It appears in English as "In theology we must consider the predominance of authority; in philosophy the predominance of reason."

    After some effort, I found the following Latin phrase in Astronomica Nova, a work by Kepler: "In Theologia quidem authoritatum, in Philosophia vero rationum esse momenta ponderanda." Attached is an image from the source text.

    I do not speak Latin, so my questions are: In your opinion, have I found the source of the English-language quote? If yes, is the English translation a good translation from the Latin?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance on this.

    Attached Files:

  2. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Yes, that must be it. The English translation is decent, but both autoritatum ("authorities") and rationum ("reasonings, arguments") are plural; the original translator left out quidem and vero; and I would translate momenta something more like "weight".

    "[Certainly] in theology we must consider the weight of authorities; but in philosophy we must consider the weight of reasoned arguments."

    Note that philosophia here does not mean exactly "philosophy" in the modern sense, but rather includes "natural philosophy" -- that is, the study of the natural world (what we today call "science"), and which Kepler was actually writing about here.
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Note also that the Latin does not really work as an independent statement. In the original, it depends on the verb respondeo, "I respond". In Theologia quidem authoritatum, in Philosophia vero rationum esse momenta ponderanda is as if you had in English "that in theology we must consider the weight of authorities; but that in philosophy we must consider the weight of reasoned arguments", except that in Latin this isn't done by adding a word like "that" but by putting some words in a different form. If you wanted to use it as an independent statement, the construction would need to be changed slightly.
  4. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Yes, good point.
  5. Paul17 New Member

    Thank you both. I really appreciate the help. This is a great forum.

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