2009
04.30

More on Joan of Arc

In the case of Joan of Arc, particularly, there has too often been a singular confusion between the expounding of the fact and explaining them. We are confronted by facts whose extraordinary character is self-evident. The desire to explain them is all the keener and everyone proceeds to do so, each putting forward his own explanation. Nothing, one might think, could be fairer than that. Joan herself had her own explanation of the event in which she was the protagonist: “All that I have done I have done at the Lord’s commandment… I had come from God… But for the grace of God I could do nothing… I have told you ofter enough that I have done nothing but by God’s commandment… etc.” But it must be obvious that from the point of view of historical criticism, an affirmation which emanates from a single witness and cannot be checked by reference to any other source, is not tantamount to a certainty. The believer can no doubt be satisfied with Joan’s explanation; the unbeliever cannot.
-–Joan of Arc (By herself and her witnesses), Regine Pernoud.

  1. The ending sounds very similiar to what was
    used at the begining of the movie Song of
    Bernadette
    “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.”