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This doesn’t sound right really, does it?

As a historical theologian, I researched the role that pious Christians played in developing and producing alcohol. What I discovered was an astonishing history.
Religious orders and wine-making
Wine was invented 6,000 years before the birth of Christ, but it was monks who largely preserved viniculture in Europe. Religious orders such as the Benedictines and Jesuits became expert winemakers. They stopped only because their lands were confiscated in the 18th and 19th centuries by anti-Catholic governments such as the French Revolution’s Constituent Assembly and Germany’s Second Reich.

Deeply, deeply, uncertain that the Jesuits were ever major land holders (in Europe) or vintners.

Yet this is from an academic.

Michael Foley, Associate Professor of Patristics, Baylor University


34 thoughts on “This doesn’t sound right really, does it?”

  1. It’s rubbish. The Jesuits are a c16 bunch. Viniculture was well established in Europe before then. Benedictines almost single-handedly developed champagne

  2. Dennis, it’s worse than we thought!

    ‘This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.’

    I can translate what Foley is saying: “I hate Christians.”

  3. And Moslems developed the distillation of spirits. Al-cohol, see?
    Does that mean anything? No, not really.

  4. “Religious orders such as the Benedictines and Jesuits became expert winemakers. They stopped only because their lands were confiscated…”

    Being charitable to the author, I suspect “They” in the above refers to “religious orders”, not the “Benedictines and Jesuits” specifically. The Jesuits were certainly capable wine-makers in the Americas and in Australia.

  5. No, it’s worse than that. Baylor is a “christian” university.

    It may have been at one time, but it is not now. Baylor holding itself out as Baptist is more marketing than anything else.

    There are no “christian” universities in the United States at this time, simply because there are no “christian” professors at this time.

  6. Not exactly where it stands Christianity wise but BYU does the job that traditional Christian establishments once did.

    True, but a whole lot of ‘Merican Christians don’t consider Mormonism as Christian. Thus, BYU is on the fringe.

  7. It’s quite common in Germany (certainly the Catholic Palatinate) for one of the best vineyards in the village to be known as the Jesuitengarten. That certainly suggests a tradition of Jesuit wine-making.

    But I don’t think they were major cultivators in Europe; the Jesuitengartens are usually only small plots, so I would guess it was to produce altar wine (which a Baptist might not think about) and perhaps a bit for their own consumption, not a commercial operation.

  8. Dennis, I have a large family all who have been or are at BYU, a great place both academic and lifestyle wise, as a Catholic I would love such an option for my kids…as for American evangelists well the less said the better.

  9. So a Cardinal bursts into the Pope’s office, and declares, “Your Eminence, I have the most wonderful news, and the worst possible news!”

    “Oh, my! What is the wonderful news?”

    “Jesus Christ has returned to Earth!”

    “So what could possibly be bad news?”

    “He showed up in Salt Lake City!”

    . . .

    I’ll get my hat.

  10. @Gamecock,

    Excellent. On a par with this, which happened in a Convent.

    Nun (excitedly, to Mother Superior): “Mother, mother, there’s a case of syphillis in the convent!”
    Mother Superior: “Good. It will make a change from that bloody awful Beaujolais we’ve been drinking …”

    Perhaps they were making the wine themselves, and it wasn’t Beaujolais.

  11. It’s not the first woefully incompetent claim I’ve seen from an American historian. I read an article by one, summarising her recent book, who claimed that the English Civil War was a religious war, Protestant vs Roman Catholic. I looked up the author, Professor Whatsherface. She reported herself as being a specialist in 17th century English history.

    Vot can you do, my dears?

  12. Bc said:
    “Associate Professor of Patristics? I have looked it up, but I’m still puzzled.”

    In British-influenced universities (and, increasingly, in Britain itself), an Associate Professor is what used to be called a Reader in England (i.e. between a Lecturer and a Professor).

    In the USA and places influenced by the Yanks, it’s equivalent to a Senior Lecturer in England.

  13. Or if you are puzzled by patristics, it’s the study of the “Fathers of the Church” (pater being Latin for father), i.e. the major theologians of early Christianity.

    St Augustine is one of the main ones, but also Athanasius (who wrote one of the early creeds), Basil the Great (major influence of the Eastern Orthodox churches), Jerome (who translated the Bible into Latin) and others.

    One reason for studying them is that they are from the era before Christianity started splitting into different parts, so it’s an attempt to find a set of common core beliefs.

  14. Off topic but FFS.

    BBC news about the EU move to talks on trade.

    They interview a non-UK citizen living in the UK worried about the “continuing doubt” about rights and for balance a UK citizen living abroad worried about the “continuing doubt” about rights.

    Heavy emphasis on how “it isn’t an agreement really, just that enough progress has been made” yadda fucking yadda.

    The BBC is like some whiny supporter of a leftie football team that’s losing 0-7 but complaining that the 5th goal looked a bit off-side.

    Brexit is going to happen you BBC cunts. Get used to it.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    “If the Tuber is writing the briefings for the other side, we are in with a chance…”

    If by “we” you mean the current shower of shit that occupy the government benches I’m not sure I’m that bothered.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    I hope this is all down to the journalist being an idiot. Because how much of an ill-educated moron would you have to be not to have noticed Christians were involved in the production of alcohol? Dom Perignon is hardly unknown even if he did not invent Champagne.

    There are eleven Trappist monasteries still producing beer: Achel, Chimay, Engelszell, La Trappe, Orval, Spencer, Rochefort, Tre Fontane, Westmalle, Westvleteren, and Zundert. Another 18 beers in Belgium alone are associated one way or the other with a non-Trappist monastery.

    It is so common for alcohol to be associated with Christians that secular people fake it – as with Bénédictine.

    Religious brewing must be part of every literate person’s education, surely?

  17. Richard,

    There are differences in the meaning of Senior Lecturer between old Universities (even the new ones created in the 60s) and ex-Polytechnics. In the former, Senior Lecturer is a mark of distinction as a teacher when you aren’t going to make promotion on the basis of research, whereas in the Ex Polys, Lecturer and Senior lecturer are essentially divisions of the old Uni Lecturer scale. Polys had an equivalent of the old Uni SL scale, called Principal Lecturer. You got there by arse-licking, doing ‘admin’ and/or anything but teaching or research, and then got in the way of others who actually wanted to do something positive.

  18. “the era before Christianity started splitting into different parts”: oh come, come. There never was such an era.

  19. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Let’s not forget Chartreuse. I got immemorially wasted one New Year’s Eve on Brandy and Benedictine. Thank god those days are over.

  20. SMFS – this is America. Strong Christians are more likely to be teetotal abstainers than they are in Europe.
    There’s a delusion over there that Jesus turned water into grape-juice, not wine.

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