An eye for an eye? Where did this really come from?

There are a lot of people who obviously think this saying, and teaching came from Christianity, or more likely, from ancient Judaism. Some may even think it originated with Islam. None of this is true.

On page 171 of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions you will find the following explanation:

eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, An  

This is an ancient Babylonian philosophy and legal code called the Code of Hammurabi (1780 B.C.). ‘An eye for an eye’ is found in several passages in the Hebrew Bible, and refers to just punishment based on the crime.  This principle has been a basic factor considered in the formation of laws of countries for thousands of years, including Judaism, ancient Roman law, British Common Law, and a consideration in the American Justice System.

Jesus, however, is quoted as saying in the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” (Mathew 5:38-39, RSV)

The sentiments of Jesus have been carried forward by modern non conformists.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye … ends in making everybody blind.” – Louis Fischer, The Yale book of quotations, Fred R. Shapiro, 2006

Martin Luther King concurred with Gandhi when he later used this phrase in the context of racial violence: “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” – The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Coretta Scott King

This book, containing many hundreds of phrase, proverb and expression origins is available on Amazon worldwide in both paperback and Kindle e-book, as well as on

Abraham Lincoln was wrong

There is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was one of the most beloved presidents in American histroy…something that many members of both major political parties can agree upon, in a time when we desperately need to come together as a nation. But at another trying time in our history, during the most bloody war we ever endured, this great leader was wrong about at least one fact.

Standing in the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, four and one half months after that conflict in which my third Great grandfather, a Virginia Confererate who was taken captive by Union soldiers, Lincoln gave one of the most famous and rousing speaches in U.S. history. In that discourse he stated: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…” Even today, however, people quote still from his speach. We do remember.

Recently we commemorated 9-11, another trying time for America, We will not forget.

For those of you who cherish the memory of what Lincoln accomplished, we now have available a great classic book on his life, beginning in his younger days. It’s titled, A Man for the Ages, and was written by Irving Bacheller, Get your copy today at or on Amazon around the globe.

Kidding ourselves

A lot of the time we want to believe something just because it sounds logical or someone else told us. Perhaps a little bit of gossip. If it’s something that rubs our fur the right way, it’s easier to believe it than check it out.

The Internet is full of information: some true, some false. All sorts of books are published to help convence people of things that the author believes in. That’s why when I do research I dig deeper that the surface to make certain that I’m not just kidding myself into believing something because it sounded good.

In digging into the origins of phrases, something I have been dedicated to for the past two years for my books On the Origins Of the Cliches, both the original and Book II, and now for the compreshenive phrase origin editon which is due out fall of 2013, I have endevored not to kid myself. Many times I find that information posted on line, and even in other major dictionaries is incorrect. I want the 2013 book to be the most indepth and accurate one ever published in the English language. Look for it next year, and in the meantime, enjoy your own copy of my two cliche origin books, which are humerous and informative, bursting many common myths. They are also available on Amazon Kindle.