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Devil in the details

Posted by Bob on September 22, 1999

In Reply to: Devil in the details posted by Lucy on September 21, 1999

: Can anyone tell me the meaning and/or origin of this phrase?
: "The devil is in the details."

: A friend of mine read somewhere another take on this phrase:
: "God is in the details."

: What do these phrases mean?

: Thanks.

"God is in the details" is often attributed to Mies van de Rohe, but I don't have reference handy to confirm that.

Both phrases are different approaches to the same wisdom: the headline giveth, and the fine print taketh away. Similarly, on a positive flip of the coin, a grand idea (like a skyscraper, or a love story) can, depending on how it's executed in the details, be either glorious (the Bank of China Building, Shakespeare in Love) or stupid and dull (the Sears Tower, Ghost).

It's quite one thing to propose a grand plan, but the final verdict must be withheld until we see it executed. Details, details.

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