Was Jesus’ Water to Wine Miracle a Trick?

Someone sent me a link in an email today asking what I thought about this as a possible point of reference for Jesus’ miracle.

watertowineNo, I do not think this is at all relevant to Jesus’ miracle.  I think anyone who draws connections between this and Jesus are grasping at straws and nothing more.  It goes back to the same point I’ve made with conspiracy theorists: they will try to put two-and-two together regardless of how absurd an idea it is.

The fact is that Jesus’ water-to-wine miracle, like his feeding of the 5000, are imitations of the multiplication stories in the Elijah/Elisha miracle cycles.  In fact, I would say that all seven major miracles in John present Jesus was Elijah/Elisha; the miracles are either (1) healing the sick, (2) raising the dead, (3) water-related, (4) or multiplication/feeding.  All of these can be traced back to the Elijah/Elisha narratives when broken down into their basic motifs.  There is no need to draw into it any additional context or add any bizarre outside influences in an attempt to historicize this event.

Roger Aus, in fact, takes a useful approach and suggests that the wedding narrative in John derives from Esther 1, and surprisingly there are some interesting connections.  He argues this rather thoroughly in his Water Into Wine and the Beheading of John the Baptist: Early Jewish-Christian Interpretation of Esther 1 in John 2:1-11 and Mark 6:17-29 (Brown Judaic Studies, 1988).  It is well worth the read.

So no, I do not believe this is at all related to Hero of Alexandria.  It is just another example of John’s dependency upon ancient Jewish literature–like every other Gospel author.  All attempts to link the two (John and Hero) are tentative and unhelpful, at best.


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