Was the wine in the Bible, Non-alcoholic?

We did this one just a bit ago. Here it is:
Is the wine in the bible really grape juice?

2001 ?
God, I’m getting old! :eek:

Come on over. :wink:

It wasn’t wine: it was Jesus Juice!

Wine Making in Ancient Egypt
White wine turns up in King Tutankhamen’s tomb:

How much alcohol do you think is needed to kill bacteria?

They didn’t understand there were one-celled organisms in the water they were killing, but they knew that putting wine in the water made it safe to drink.

There was a Scientific American article a few years ago about what a recent concept tea-totalling is because people were afraid to drink plain water.

Presbyterians explicitly use it so alcoholics can take communion without falling off the wagon. I imagine that’s the same for most denominations (that don’t bar alcohol outright like some Southern Baptist churches).

Wait, so the Bible says I shouldn’t get drunk on wine, but instead on spirits? Which spirits, exactly? Should I be filled with a nice old single malt scotch?

Genesis 19:30-36

Not something that can be done with non-alcoholic wine. :dubious:

Well, if you were starting off with retsina, you’d probably dilute it a bit more, too.

Well I know that you can’t make wine stronger by having it ferment indefinitely, because it reaches the point where the alcohol kills the yeast. Mix it with water and you have something that’s dilute enough yeast could live in it, and I suspect bacteria as well. A weak cite I know, but Wikipedia agrees with me: “Wine with less than 16% ethanol cannot protect itself against bacteria.” If it can’t protect itself it seems unlikely it’ll kill off all the nastiness in the water you mix with it, especially since you don’t add that water all that long in advance.

They may have thought mixing water with wine made the water safe, but I’d like a decent cite for that before I think it was a case of making the wine last longer and not get you drunk as fast.

I haven’t read the SA article you mention but I suspect the people who were afraid to drink plain water were Europeans of a few hundred years ago. And they would have avoided water completely as much as possible, replacing it with beer, not mixing it with anything.

And just for the record, beer protects the drinker from waterborne pathogens not primarily by its alcohol content, but by virtue of the fact that it is boiled before fermentation.

Just as an aside - when this topic was last discussed here and here I posted the following… it’s not all about misplaced puritanism, sometimes there are v. good reasons for using grape juice in communion:

I like my church- it’s Presbyterian and Northern Irish, so there’s a good few of the congregation who have taken The Pledge (a vow never to drink), also, of course, there are a good few members of the congregation who are recovering alcoholics.

So- grape juice for communion, but wine is offered at all church social functions (along with tea, coffee, juice and water). Thus, if there is a choice, you get to choose wine, if drinking is compulsory, it’s non alcoholic.

IMHO- god has no problem with alcohol, as long as it is used responsibly.

They didn’t irrigate the vineyards. They weren’t "vine"yards… no vines, the grapes used for wine through most of Spain’s history grow on knee-high “trees” that need very little water. It’s the same kind of places where they grow cereals, but the cereals would get the better land. These grapes are black and very small, little bigger than blackberries. Pick a bunch of store-bought grapes, look for a runt: that’s the size we’re talking about.

A reason they grew grapes in that area was, precisely, that this variety could be grown without irrigation. What little rainfall is there is enough. This is in Teruel, which didn’t get irrigation until Franco earned the nickname of “Frank the Frog” in the '50s and '60s (he always seemed to be inaugurating some canal or dam).

I know some people who used to grow wine grapes in my part of the country: they took them out because of EU regulations (basically the gov’t paid them to pull them out) and griped that “nothing fuckin’ else grows there, dammit, slope’s too steep to put a tractor in, grumblegrumble”; before they ripped the grapes out, I remember hearing them complain whenever it threatened to rain (“rain’s bad for the grapes, it’s sun they need”). I hear farmers elsewhere are Masters of Grumbling, too :smiley:

I don’t remember the name of the specific area, sorry. But it’s several villages, south of Calatayud. And if you don’t want to take my “I’ve been there, we’re talking about my country” authority, sorry - why would you like a story I heard in person better if you saw it written in Spanish, in a webpage, by the current secretaries of the towns involved? It’s the explanation they give; some of those houses were built within the 20th century. Many of the villages in Teruel still were getting all their water from a single well in the 70s; the cost of opening a well for “non-potable” water would have been the same as for a “potable” one, so why would you bother go second-rate? And if you want me to find you some statistic, you’re out of luck: we’re talking about a time before people paid for water. All they knew in these villages is that they had enough wine to make adobes with… and not enough water.

My SIL’s parents are from a village in a different area of Teruel. They put faucets inside the grandparents’ house in the '90s and an actual WC. Until then, there had been a shower (divested from the general water pipe, which only opened to a faucet outside the house’s walls) in the yard and they had showered in swimming clothes. A couple of years back, the last house that’s still in use got the faucets inside and there was a motion to have a festival; they ended up having only a feast instead.

I found this cite along with one or two others. I guess it’s not just the alcohol.

And in one of Paul’s letters (to Timothy? I’m not sure now), the Apostle beseeches his correspondent to remember to add wine to his water, for the sake of his delicate stomach. So there’s even biblical reference to health benefits from wine.

Nitpick – in the second quote from DtC’s last post I think it should say “sulfA drugs”.

I think your final statement sums things up and I’m sorry that you have had such unpleasant experiences. You are painting an entire denomination with the same brush, even though you are discussing issues with an individual congregation or individual “fanatics.”

Of course, you knew an Adventist would come along and say something. Anyway, my wife and I eat meat with pleasure, and we serve it when we have guests over for lunch after asking about their preference. Yes, I have encountered people with extreme views, but they are just that: extreme. I can’t say that I have surveyed all Protestant religions to be sure, but I’m pretty confident that you can find folks in other denominations that are extreme about their doctrines.

One evening an annoying self-righteous woman at church started giving me guff over my diet when I mentioned what I had had for breakfast. My patience was thin, so I simply said “Well, since we’re talking about our lifestyles, how often to you exercise? I went for a 12 mile run this afternoon to make up for the crap I ate. How about you join me for a nice 10 mile jog tomorrow afternoon were you can explain to me why I am eating wrong.” She was speechless.

As far as the Bible goes, I think the two most common translations I see in use in our congregation are the King James and the New Living, in that order. I have never seen anyone carrying a secret “club” version (that doesn’t mean that one can’t exist somewhere).

Oh yes… for the OP: it is true that many Adventists fall in the “grape juice” camp. For the Biblical reasons already covered, I think that’s hogwash: it was alcoholic wine, plain and simple. Of course, that’s just my own opinion.

The translation I was referring to is The Clear Word published by the Review & Herald (apparently they’ve taken the word “Bible” off the cover now due to controversy) - members of my church raved about it. And the SDA church espoused it wholeheartedly. Tons of others spoke out against the dangers of the revision as it inserted text and beliefs not found in other mainstream, academic biblical translations. To be fair, the prologue to the book apparently contains a disclaimer that the book is a paraphrase and not a new translation, but misleading copy on the cover of the book itself made it clear that the publishers hoped it would be taken as one. You can find any number of articles about the controversy via Google.

Have I painted with a broad brush? Absolutely I have. And I apologize for that. Most of the SDA churches around here are very conservative, and the members of my church are quite dogmatic. They have little time for questioners and openly deride others for any opposing views. Which is a shame.

OK, but they still need water. A plant that needs very little water will put even less water into its fruits. It’d be significantly more efficient to collect the rainwater and use it directly.

and I can complete the cycle by turning beer to water.

And American mass-produced beer short-circuits the cycle by selling it right back to you.