Wine in Ben Sira – The Jewish Drinking Show Ep. #58 with Professor Michael Satlow

The 58th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show is now published on Wine in Ben Sira, featuring Professor Michael Satlow.

Guest Biography
Professor Satlow is a professor of religious studies and Judaic studies at Brown University. His research focuses on the social and religious history of Jews and Judaism in antiquity, and broader research interests on Jews and Judaism, as well as on issues of method and theory in the study of religion. In addition to having published multiple books, he recently had his commentary on the Book of Ben Sira published in The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha.

This is the second episode of The Jewish Drinking Show on a book of the apocrypha, the first of which was “Wine in the Book of Judith”, featuring Professor Caryn Tamber-Rosenau.

Episode Podcast

Episode Video

Episode Outline

    1. Welcome
    2. Introduction
    3. Introduction to the guest, Professor Michael Satlow: Prof. Michael L. Satlow is Professor of Judaic Studies and Religious Studies at Brown University. He holds a Ph.D. from JTS, is the author of Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice and How the Bible Became Holy, amongst other books.
    4. Recently also published commentary to Ben Sira for The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha, edited by Jonathan Klawans and Lawrence Wills (Oxford University Press, 2020)
    5. Introduction to the topic – Wine in the Book of Ben Sira
    6. What is the Book of Ben Sira?
      1. Drew: Ben Sira is a book that is included in the Apocrypha, which was previously discussed in the 11th episode, “Wine in the Book of Judith”, featuring Professor Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, although the Apocrypha is not a well-known collection of works, so Prof. Satlow, what is the book of Ben Sira? When was it written? What has its significance been? Also, as part of this newly released book, what can you share about the Apocrypha more broadly?
      2. Satlow answers….
    7. Drew: “I’m fascinated, especially since this is a book of wisdom and I’m deeply curious about the relationship between wine and wisdom, and this book definitely provides fascinating perspectives on this subject”

    III.        Body of Discussion: Wine in the Book of Ben Sira

    1. Introduction of wine in Ben Sira
    2. Wine appears numerous times in the book, with the biggest chunk at the end of the 31st chapter, followed by a discussion of a banquet at the beginning of chapter 32, with scattered other references to wine throughout the book
    3. Wine as not only good, but as necessity
    4. 31:27-28 {praises of wine; necessity for life and enjoyment}
    5. 39:26-27 {ten elements necessary for man’s life  – one of these is wine}
    6. Wine and beer are good, but not as good as wisdom (40:20 (some versions have שיר in lieu of שכר, but the latter seems to be fit better)
    7. Wine compared with a friend – improves with age: 9:10
    8. Pairs incredibly well with music (32:6)
    9. Banqueting – early chapter 32, and also 31:31
    10. Too much wine is cause for concern
    11. 31:25-26
    12. 31:29
    13. 18:33-19:1
    14. 19:2
    15. Drinking with married women is not good
    16. 9:9
    17. 26:8
    18. Conclusion
    19. Thank you, Prof. Satlow


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