Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Aaron Rodgers Thinks He Quoted Francis of Assisi: Tinley's Law at Super Bowl Media Day

Today was Super Bowl Media Day (happy belated Super Bowl Media Day!), the day on which reporters who don't usually cover football ask the principle players on the two teams questions about anything and everything. Someone asked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers something about his faith, and his answer included a quote that he attributed to Francis of Assisi: "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." (Thanks to Gavin Richardson for drawing this to my attention.)

"Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." It's a great quote (although one should not overlook the importance of being able to verbally articulate one's faith story and beliefs). I come across this quote at least once a month, every time it is attributed to Francis of Assisi. But there's no evidence that Francis ever actually said it.

Tinley's Law states:

The more frequently a quotation is attributed to a certain person the less likely it is that said person was the actual source of the quotation.

Or, worded differently:

The frequency of attribution is inversely proportional to the probability of authenticity.

See here for some examples of instances where Tinley's Law holds.

I'll be eager to see how Aaron Rodgers preaches the gospel without words this Sunday, but his performance will have nothing to do with Francis of Assisi.


Blogger David said...

So who am I quoting when I use this fantastic phrase?

1:47 PM  

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