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In the following sentence, does the phrase 'have the greater knowledge' mean 'understand well'?

"We all know that books burn, yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man's eternal fight against tyranny of every kind."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

(goodreads.com)

  • Please include the entire quotation in your posts, with a link. If you abbreviate the text source, you could inadvertently introduce errors or mislead readers. – Em. Dec 9 '19 at 2:18
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I think that have the greater knowledge in this context means know something more important than what's already mentioned.

It is a simple fact that books burn- that a physical book can be destroyed by fire. But the knowledge contained in a book lives on in the heads of people who have read it, so even if you try to control knowledge by destroying books, you cannot destroy the knowledge that they contain.

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"We all know that books burn, yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire."

In the following sentence, does the phrase 'have the greater knowledge' mean 'understand well'?

In a sense, yes. "Have the greater knowledge" could be best interpreted as a "deeper knowledge". I think it is a juxtaposition to "know" from the first part of the sentence. You could see it with the "yet", which is supposed to contradict what was stated before, hence the juxtaposition.

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