Blessed Beer   3 comments

Holy Beer and PretzelOur friends at Touchstone Journal’s blog Mere Comments are reporting that a scholar at Xavier University in Louisiana will soon publish his conclusions that Hebrews drank beer. 

“Ancient Israelites, with the possible exception of a few teetotaling Nazirites and their moms, proudly drank beer – and lots of it,” said Michael Homan, in his article for the September/October issue Biblical Archaeology Review, Religion News Service reports.

“While English translations of the Bible do not mention beer, the original Hebrew does,” he said.

 Just why, then, do Engish versions avoid translating the Hebrew word shekhar as beer?

Additionally, the Israelites’ taste for beer has been ignored because academic scholars over the past 100 years have inferred that beer drinking is “uncouth” behaviour, he said.

“This has led many Bible scholars actively to distance biblical heroes from a beer-drinking world, much like some Christians prefer to believe that Jesus drank unfermented grape juice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,” Homan said.

As one whose Christian formation took place among those who had this precious notion about our Lord’s beverage at the Last Supper, I can well understand (though not sympathize) with a similar delicateness when translating the Hebrew word shekhar.

However, I have since learned that at least one modern translation has dropped the nelliness about fermented beverages and now renders a joyful commandment in the Law of Moses with robust accuracy:

When you and your family arrive, spend the money on food for a big celebration. Buy cattle, sheep, goats, wine, beer, and if there are any other kinds of food that you want, buy those too. Dt 14:26, Contemporary English Verson

 The photo of Benedict is, of course, in affectionate jest.  He is a German, after all. 

And, it’s not sacriligeous.  It’s many orders of magnitude less sacriligious than twisting the Bible, the very words of God, in order to justify using Welch’s grape juice when our Lord and His Apostles specified wine, the fruit of the vine made glorious by death and resurrection.


Posted September 23, 2010 by Fr. Bill in Proper piety

Tagged with , , , , ,

3 responses to “Blessed Beer

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  1. Chuckling…
    Saw a book titled IN SEARCH OF GOD AND GUINNESS that interested me. Will probably purchase it now after reading this post.

  2. Hello, Jane! Thanks for stopping by. Give Ron my greeting!

  3. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent translation) translates “shekhar” as “beer.”

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