The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, Robert Teachout

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The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, Robert Teachout

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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.

Dr. Teachout has given me permission to publish his Ph. D. dissertation.  It is a powerful defense of the Biblical mandate for total abstinence from alcohol and the two-wine position that in Scripture the word “wine” refers to both fermented wine and unfermented grape juice. Indeed, in my view, it is the most scholarly defense of this position in modern times.  Dr. Teachout is a fundamental Baptist 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 the Old Testament requires total abstinence from alcohol.  In several appendices he deals with the New Testament evidence as well, although in somewhat less detail, but still with valuable information (such as clear instances in the papyri for oinos as unfermented juice). His bibliography also has valuable information.  Overall, this book is the best work on the Old Testament evidence for total abstinence that I have read, and his material on the New Testament evidence is also very good.

His table of contents provides a valuable and relatively detailed account of what he is demonstrating in the book.   The notes below provide page references with useful information:

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 ate unclean meats. Nehemiah 2:1 refers to grape juice.

259, unfortunately, Teachout believes in the critical text, not the Textus Receptus and the KJV, and he is not committed to literal, word-for-word translation.

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 the 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.

A doctoral dissertation is above the level of some;  a briefer and more popular level book in defense of the two-wine theory by Robert Teachout’s brother, Richard Teachout, is: Grape Juice in the Bible:  God’s Blessing for His People!

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Thomas Ross