Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reviews of Two Books on Wine and the Bible


The following notes deal with two books on the subject of wine and the Bible that I have read relatively recently. Dr. Teachout’s book, which I have received permission to post on my website, and is consequently is available on my website--click here, is an excellent resource. The other book is less valuable, but probably has been read by more people, so I have reviewed it as well. Scripture teaches total abstinence from alcoholic beverages, and the resources below help to defend this fact that is increasingly attacked today.
The Use of “Wine” In the Old Testament, Robert P. Teachout. Th. D. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, May 1979. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, 1980. 462 pgs. Read 2/12/10. Elec. Acc.
Dr. Teachout is a fundamental Baptist (although he is critical text, and not committed to literal, word-for-word translation; see pg. 259) who taught at the San Francisco Baptist Seminary run by Hamilton Square Baptist church. He does an excellent job defending the two-wine position that Biblically requires total abstinence from alcohol from the Old Testament, and in several appendices he deals with the NT evidence in somewhat less detail, but still with valuable information (such as clear instances in papyri for oinos as unfermented juice). His bibliography also has valuable information (such as the reference to a Ph. D. dissertation at Columbia University from 1927 by Raymond Irving Woodworth on “The Teaching of the Early Church on the Use of Wine and Strong Drink.”) Overall, this book is the best work on the OT evidence for total abstinence that I have read, and his material on the NT evidence is also very good.
His table of contents provides a valuable and relatively detailed account of what he is demonstrating in the book. I also wrote a page of notes with page references with useful information, some of which are as follows:
110: Prob. etymological origine of yayin as “to squeeze out.” See pg. 127 for conclusion.
116ff. Potential support for Ugaritic cognate of yayin meaning “grape juice.” Up to 124.
154: A useful chart with all the evidence on it.
175: The Hebrew sba refers to excess in the nature of the beverage consumed as much as to the amount; consider with Ephesians 5:18.
179ff.: Tirosh—always fresh juice (w/ further info.)—typically the stored juice. 184f.: Hosea 4:11 shown consistent with this. Up to 209 the word is discussed—very helpful.
209ff.: shekar = drink deeply.
232ff.: Deut 14:20 + shekar/strong drink. Up to 240.
257-8: Teachout thinks Nehemiah gave alcoholic wine to the pagan king—but this is false. Nehemiah neither drank alcoholic wine nor unclean meats, etc. Nehemiah 2:1 refers to grape juice.
270: Excellent point contra “moderate” wine—Scripture gives no hint on what point one goes from full control to beginning drunkenness/God’s wrath! Also 333.
317: Classical scholars recognized a long time ago that oinos/vinum could be unfermented; and so could the English word wine be so!
324: OT never even suggests that wine is better when mixed with water.
325: One drink or less has devastating effects!
332: Wine is controlled spoiling of grape juice.
363: Tirosh consistently translated by oinos.
367: LXX recognizes yayin can be fresh grape juice.
368ff.: oinos in classical, etc. Greek and payri as fresh grape juice.
370ff.: Instances where the Latin vinum is unfermented.
394: Typo
396ff.: How ancients kept grape juice unfermented all year.
435ff.: Proof that even one drink is bad for the health and hurts the mind.
442ff.: 1 Timothy 3, “not given to wine” and “much wine” for the bishop and deacon evaluated.
Wine in the Bible: A Biblical Study on the Use of Alcoholic Beverages, by Samuele Bacchiocchi. Berrien Springs, MI: Biblical Perspectives, 2001. 263 pgs. Read 12/24/09.
Bacchiocchi is a Seventh Day Adventist, and the first page of his book advertises other books he has written that are filled with heresy. He taught at Andrews University, the SDA school, and he died in 2009. Some of his quotations are questionable, such as the following, from pg. 178, concerning the patristic Jerome commenting on Ephesians 5:18—he appears to take Jerome quite out of context.
This is how Bacchiocchi argued:
This apparent contradiction can be resolved by recognizing that me paroinos does not necessarily imply moderation. In his word-by-word exposition of 1 Timothy 3:2, Jerome interprets me paroinos as totally abstinent. He writes: “‘not a drunkard’ (non vinolentum), for he who is constantly in the Holy of Holies and offers sacrifices, will not drink wine or strong drink, since wine is debauchery [luxuria —Eph 5:18].”84 For Jerome, me paroinos meant that like the priests in the Old Testament, the bishop must be totally abstinent.
What Jerome actually said (Against Jovinianus 30):
“[N]ot a drunkard,” for he who is constantly in the Holy of Holies and offers sacrifices, will not drink wine and strong drink, since wine is a luxury. If a bishop drink at all, let it be in such a way that no one will know whether he has drunk or not.
Note that the very sentence after the one quoted by Bacchiocchi appears to directly contradict his conclusion.
Bacchiocchi also has an entire chapter in his book on Wine and Ellen White—useless space for someone not in the SDA cult. SDA bias/theology also appears on, e. g., pgs. 11, 13-14, 15, 24, 29, 43, 48, 50, 57, 179-180, 216, 248; Ellen White is cited as evidence on pgs. 118, 139, 141, 241; etc.; note also 175, 216, 225-247. On page 175 he makes the heretical and false assertion that in Luke 23:43 the location of the comma, indicating that the question of whether Christ promised the thief would be in Paradise that day, or that Christ was simply stating what He said that day, is simply a matter of translation preference, a totally false assertion, since the Greek syntax requires a pause after “you” and before “today.” Bacchiocchi also uses corrupt modern Bible versions. He has typos on pgs. 12, 13, 20 (2x), 22, 99, 123, 192, 194 (2x) 200, 204, 205, 206 (2x), 207 (2x), 210, 214, and 249. When talking about how to help alcoholics, he does not state that they need to be born again by repentant faith in Christ, turning from works to be justified by faith alone, because he believes in salvation by works, as a good SDA. The works of Bacchiocchi on other topics than this one certainly cannot be recommended, nor can he nor his denomination be called Christian—they are a cult which is abominable to the Triune God.
It is also worth mentioning that his book contains an endorsement by the fundamental Baptist scholar Dr. Robert Teachout, author of the classic The Use of “Wine” In The Old Testament. However, Dr. Teachout has told me personally that when he reviewed the book it did not have the chapter on Ellen White and alcohol—so the especially blatent SDAism in the book was much less prominent than it is in the currently published version.
Apart from these very substantial problems, the book has some good content and arguments demonstrating that the Bible requires total abstinance from alcohol. He takes the classical fundamental Baptist two-wine view, and does a good job attacking the one-wine view. Also, the book can be downloaded for free from the Internet, a definite benefit, as long as one is thoroughly indoctrinated against the heresies of the SDA cult. Sometimes he could argue more strongly than he does—for example, he says that Ephesians 5:18 only has “wine” as the referent for “excess/riot” as a possibility, but, as I have demonstrated in my analysis of Ephesians 5:18, the verse requires and proves that wine itself is excess/riot, and clearly forbids all consumption of alcohol.
The book divides as follows:
Forewords .................................................................................... 7
Preface ............................................................................................... 11
A Preview of the Book ................................................................... 19
A Look at the Drinking Problem ...................................................... 19
Moral or Medical Issue? ................................................................... 20
Notes to the Preview ........................................................................ 27
1. A Look at the Drinking Problem ................................................. 28
A Christian Responsibility ............................................................... 28
Three Major Views................................................... ........................ 33
The Moderationist View ............................................................... 33
The Abstentionist View ................................................................ 34
The Prohibitionist View ................................................................ 37
Conclusion ....................................................................................... 38
Notes to Chapter 1 ............................................................................ 39
2. The Meaning of “Wine” ................................................................. 41
Secular Use of the Word “Wine” ...................................................... 43
The Meaning of “Wine” in English ............................................ 43
The Meaning of the Latin Vinum ................................................ 45
Secular Usage of the Greek Oinos ................................................ 46
Secular Usage of the Hebrew Yayin ............................................ 49
Biblical Usage of Yayin and Oinos ................................................... 50
Conclusion ...................................................................................... 59
Notes to Chapter 2 ............................................................................ 60
3. “Wine” In Biblical Perspective ..................................................... 63
Biblical Approval of Unfermented Wine ......................................... 64
Biblical Disapproval of Fermented Wine ........................................ 74
Conclusion ...................................................................................... 84
Notes to Chapter 3 ............................................................................ 85
4. The Preservation of Grape Juice ................................................. 87
The Ancient Art of Preservation ....................................................... 87
The Preservation of Fermented Wine ............................................... 91
The Preservation of Grape Juice ....................................................... 95
Conclusion ....................................................................................... 107
Notes to Chapter 4 ............................................................................ 108
5. Jesus and Wine ............................................................................... 113
The Wedding at Cana ....................................................................... 114
New Wine in New Wineskins .......................................................... 121
Is Old Wine Better? .......................................................................... 124
Was Jesus a Glutton and a Drunkard?.............................................. 127
The Communion Wine ..................................................................... 131
Conclusion ...................................................................................... 144
Notes to Chapter 5 ............................................................................ 145
6. Wine in the Apostolic Church ...................................................... 151
Acts 2:13: “Filled With New Wine” ................................................ 152
1 Corinthians 11:21: “One is Hungry and another is drunk” ........... 155
Ephesians 5:18: “Do Not Get Drunk With Wine” ............................ 160
Admonitions to Abstinence .............................................................. 167
Conclusion ...................................................................................... 184
Notes to Chapter 6 ............................................................................ 185
7. A Look at Some Misunderstood Passages ................................... 192
Deut 14:26: Drink “Wine and strong drink” ................................... 193
Prov 31:6: “Give strong drink . . .” .................................................. 201
Hosea 4:11: “Wine and new wine take away the understanding” ... 204
1 Tim 5:23: “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach” .......... 208
1 Tim 3:8: “Not addicted to much wine” ......................................... 213
Conclusion ........................................................................................ 220
Notes to Chapter 7 ............................................................................ 221
8. Ellen White and Alcoholic Beverages ......................................... 225
Ellen White’s Theology of Abstinence ............................................ 226
Consequences of Using Alcohol ...................................................... 234
Conclusion ........................................................................................ 242
Notes to Chapter 8 ........................................................................... 243
9. Alcohol in America ......................................................................... 248
The Consequences of Drinking ........................................................ 250
Alcohol and Health .......................................................................... 255
Conclusion ....................................................................................... 260
Notes to Chapter 9 ........................................................................... 261
With the very serious cautions mentioned above, the book may be cautiously recommended as an acceptable resource presenting the true view on the Bible and wine to those who are not going to get sucked into the SDA cult.
-TDR

2 comments:

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Personally, while I appreciate the efforts at dealing with this issue from a linguistic standpoint, I think that an even better way to show what the Bible says about wine is the theological contexts. When we look at those, there's no way an honest person can say that the Bible condones the drinking of wine by Christians.

Daniel said...

I can understand Bacchiocchi's interpretation of Jerome. I remember years ago learning that luxury had a negative meaning originally. Merriam-Webster lists for the origin, "Middle English luxurie, from Anglo-French luxorie, from Latin luxuria rankness, luxury, excess." Also from Wordorigins.org, "Luxury is ultimately from the Latin luxuria, meaning 'extravagance, excess.' The ancient Romans used luxuria to emphasize riotous living and sinful waste."

From this, you know that Jerome understood wine drinking was not allowed. So he follows it with the basic warning, if you drink, don't get caught!