I've often heard the phrase "Cleanliness is next to godliness" used but as far as I know, while there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the notion, in spite of mentioning God the phrase doesn't have a Biblical basis. Where did the phrase come from and does it have its roots in Christianity or somewhere else?
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(from PhraseFinder, which has a useful entry too long to quote)
It was my understanding that the adage "cleanliness is next to Godliness" had nothing to do with piety. It was explained to me that the expression began during the time of the black plague in mid-14th century, and was an expression listing what should be a person's priorities. Godliness should be at the top of a person's priorities, closely followed by cleanliness. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Nostradamus coined the phrase.
protected by Mari-Lou A Nov 17 '14 at 6:24
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