Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beer in the Bible?

It is possibly a question that has troubled just a few Biblical scholars, but perhaps many an RE student:  was Jesus a wine-only man, or did he enjoy a beer too?

Dr. James Bowley, professor of the Department of Religious Studies at Millsaps College, spoke to his students recently about how the commonplace of making and drinking of beer in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the entire Fertile Crescent, which includes ancient Israel.

He pointed out in his talk to students that to be Christian and to abstain from alcohol on religious was without founding:

"The idea that religious people should abstain from all alcoholic beverages is a fairly modern one in history, and peculiarly Christian, and is certainly not the case in the ancient world of Israel, or other Mediterranean cultures, or among most early Christians."

“The wise use of these beverages, and the wise use of all of creation in the ancient world and today, is the lesson that sages, both ancient and modern, teach.”

Unfortunately it appears he is not able to answer the question of whether Jesus drank beer as well as wine, but he is confident that beer was a part of the culture of Israel at the time. 

Maybe it's not really that important after all.

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