My grandmother, Bolene Bernard, was my first spiritual guide. She was an elder in her independent Baptist churches and a prayer warrior. Grandma was a wise and courageous woman. She was always poor. The only bad decision I know she made was in her choice of a husband. She worked mostly as a maid. As she aged people increasingly went to her for counsel.
Not only did I learn to read from a large illustrated King James Bible resting on her lap, I learned about the spirit world, about wounds that don’t heal, and that love filled the world, and in the end all will be well.
Bolene was also a Biblical literalist. One of those small cracks in the hermetic world within which I lived as a child occurred when I first noticed my grandmother believed every word of the Bible was literally true. And that when the text said Jesus drank wine, it meant grape juice.
Fast forward. A couple of months ago, I was researching video clips for the class I’m teaching on Abrahamic spiritual texts. And while wandering around the wild West of religion on Youtube, I stumbled upon ReligionForBreakfast a webpage run by Andrew Henry, currently a PhD candidate at Boston University. I’ve found him a wonderful objective resource, especially for the New Testament.
He also produced a video on the wine Jesus might well have drank.
It does appear to have been alcoholic. Sorry, Grandma… Although likely not with quite the punch of our current wines. Although. Maybe.
Anyway. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what was that water turned to wine, and more, what was that wine at the Last Supper, well, you’re in for a treat. No hard answers. Sorry. It just isn’t going that way. But a very reasonable peek into what is most likely…
The image is “Jesus and the Holy Chalice” by Conrad Pickel