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The meaning and origin of the expression: To cast the first stone

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To cast the first stone

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Be the first to attack a sinner. The implication in Jesus' teaching was that the members of the congregation were only in a position to condemn a sinner if they were without sin themselves - in other words, 'judge not lest you be judged'.


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Casting the first stone was adroitly satirised in the stoning scene in The Life of Brian.
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This phrase derives from the Bible- John 8:7. The earliest biblical example of it in print in English comes in Miles Coverdale's Bible, 1535:

Now whyle they contynued axynge him, he lift him self vp, and sayde vnto them: He that is amonge you without synne, let him cast the first stone at her.