Were Jesus and Dionysus the Same?

John was the last Gospel written, likely at the end of the first century. John is the only gospel to contain the story of Jesus’ turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. And the guests remark about how it is so much better than the first wine that was served. Let’s take an alternative view of this story.

  • Why is this listed first?  John starts off (after the preamble about the Word), with Jesus at the wedding. No virgin birth. No John the Baptist. No forty days in the wilderness. For John, this miracle story must have been significant. But why?

Brian Muraresku wrote a recent book titled The Immortality Key, The Secret History of the Religion with No Name.  In his book, Brian posits two theories about the significance of turning the water into wine at Cana.

  • Connection to the Roman god. The Greek/Roman god of wine was Dionysus. But some of the Greek festivals associated with Dionysus were limited to the upper echelons of society. And even the Roman government was starting to crack down on some of these Dionysian festivals. Muraresku believes the story in John was an attempt to a) make a clandestine connection between Jesus and Dionysus and b) to make it obvious that Jesus was a god for all classes of people.
  • And then there’s the wine itself. The land of Canaan was well-know for its wine production. It was also known for its herb production; more specifically, hallucinogenic herbs. Muraresku believes that what made the wine at Cana so special was the extra psychedelic kick coming from a few well portioned additives to the wine jars. 

Isn’t that a hoot? But what if .. just what if … it is true? The Chief Editor has sent a query to reputable New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, to get a reality check. We’ll report back in a future edition.

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