Posted by ESC on August 18, 2000
In Reply to: Cleanliness/godliness posted by Marge on August 17, 2000
: Can anyone tell me where the phrase "Cleanliness is next to godliness" comes from?
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS - "This ancient proverb is said by some to have come from ancient Hebrew writings. However, its first appearance in English - though in slightly altered form - seems to be in the writings of Francis Bacon. In his 'Advancement of Learning' he wrote: 'Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.' Near two centuries later John Wesley in one of his sermons indicated that the proverb was already well known in the form we use today. Wrote Wesley: 'Slovenliness is no part of religion.'Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988). There are a couple more details in "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996): ".According to the fourteenth edition of 'Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,' it is an old Hebrew proverb used in the late 2nd century by Rabbi Phinehas ben-Yair. First attested in the United States in the 'Monthly Anthology and Boston Review' . The proverb is found in varying forms."
See also: the last words of Sir Francis Bacon.