phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Knowledge is power

Posted by Masakim on January 20, 2002

In Reply to: Knowledge is power posted by ESC on January 19, 2002

: : Does anyone know where or who first used the phrase 'Knowledge is Power'?

: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER - "Knowledge is a tool that can be used to control and change the world. The idea is found in the Old Testament. (A man of knowledge increaseth strength. Proverbs 24:5, King James Version.) Many authorities attribute this aphorism to British philosopher Francis Bacon : Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est. However, a similar phrase was used by Shakespeare in 'Henry VI' . First attested in the United States in 1806. The proverb takes varying forms: Knowledge brings power; Knowledge itself is power." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Bacon's "nam et ipsa scientia potestas est" (_De Haeresibus_,1597) is translated as "for knowledge itself is power."
He also wrote "Knowledge it selfe is a power whereby he [God] knoweth" (_Essays_, 1598) and "Knowledge and human power are synonymous, since the ignorance of the cause frustrates the effect" (_Novum Organum_, 1620)

The well-known aphorism that "knowledge is power." (B. Rush, letter, Nov 25, 1806)

(Prothero), They say that "Knowledge is Power": I used to think so. (Byron, _Letters and Journals_, 1822)

He ... said half aloud,--"Well, knowledge is power!" (Bulwer-Lytton, _My Novel_, 1853)

See also: the last words of Sir Francis Bacon.

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