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Charity begins at home

Posted by ESC on February 08, 2001

In Reply to: Charity begins at home posted by R. Berg on February 07, 2001

: : I am trying to find the meaning/origen of the saying "Charity begins at home" Thanks!

: The Oxford English Dictionary explains the phrase this way: "used to express the prior claims of the ties of family, friendship, etc., to a man's consideration (cf. I Tim. v. 8, etc.)." It gives quotations showing the use of this phrase or variants of it from 1382 through 1798.

: I looked up the Biblical passage, and it didn't help.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME -- "One's own family (or country, etc.) comes before any other responsibilities. The idea of the proverb can be found in the Bible. The proverb dates back to the time of the Roman comic playwright Terence (about 190-159 BC). In 1383, John Wycliffe wrote: 'Charity should begin at himself.' Five hundred years later Dickens said that 'Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.' First attested in the United States in the 'Winthrop Papers' .'." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).