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Baptizing Wine

The Dialectics of Mixture in Los denuestos del agua y el vino
Baptiser le vin : la dialectique du mélange dans Los denuestos del agua y el vino
Bautizar el vino: la dialéctica de la mezcla en Los denuestos del agua y el vino
Adriano Duque
p. 239-259

Résumés

Le présent article étudie le débat entre l’eau et le vin qui apparaît dans la deuxième partie du poème Razón de amor. En tenant compte des sources patristiques et des discussions philosophiques sur des questions de méréologie, l’article analyse jusqu’à quel point l’auteur a utilisé ces sources pour contextualiser le débat et pour en inverser son sens. Ainsi, de la déclaration initiale sur le besoin de séparer l’eau du vin, on passe à une exaltation du baptême, entendu non seulement comme le sacrément d’initiation mais aussi comme le fait de diluer le vin avec de l’eau.

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Texte intégral

  • 1  For the text of Los denuestos, I follow Franchinis edition of the poem (Franchini, 1993, pp. 47-5 (...)
  • 2  Razón, v. 145.

1Among the medieval debates between water and wine, the Denuestos del agua y el vino is strangely anomalous1. Composed around 1250, Los denuestos was conceived as part of a larger composition, which critics have called the Razón de amor. While the first part of the poem narrates the encounter between a scholar and a maiden under the shade of a tree, Los denuestos falls within the category of the medieval debate between water and wine and centers around an initial plea to keep water and wine separate.Following the convention of the genre, the elements engage in a repartee wherein each tries to establish its superiority over the other. After a sudden burst of laughter, the debate turns into a contest for religious superiority in which neither substance prevails. The poem then concludes with a joyful invitation to drink wine: «Mi razón aquí la fino/ e mandat nos dar vino2».

  • 3  Azuela, 1991, p. 31.

2In his study on Los denuestos, Leo Spitzer pointed out that while most debates between water and wine concluded with the victory of wine, Los denuestos was successful in establishing a certain parity of worth between water and wine. He nevertheless admitted that a victory of wine was implicit, grounding his assessment on the poem’s final verse (see above). For María Cristina Azuela, on the other hand, the dialectical contest between water and wine excluded the possibility of reconciliation or victory, and undermined their very discourse3.

  • 4  Franchini, 1993, p. 76.

3Furthermore, the numerous references contained in the poem have led E. Franchini to seek a symbolic meaning in the debate and to present it as an effort to portray the dilemma of a cleric forced to choose between a desire for purity (amor purus) and an erotic desire (amor mixtus)4. Viewed from this perspective, the ambiguities of the poem would then favor a series of anti­theses and the development of a series of images that could symbolize either continence or sexual freedom.

4For Franchini, the starting point of the debate lies in the mixing or commixtio of water and wine, a common motif of sexual union in Goliardic poetry. Despite the religious significance of the mixing of water and wine, the arguments of Los denuestos take the medieval discussion between parts and wholes so as to mark a shift of attitude, ranging from the initial competition between water and wine to a final declaration of the excellences of mixing.

5The medieval discussion of parts and wholes stemmed from the principle that when two substances were mixed, one substance was transformed into the other and ceased to exist as such. In the case of water and wine, Augustine conceived the resulting mixture as a completely different body:

  • 5  «Et manifestatum est mihi quoniam bona sunt quae corrumpuntur, quae neque si summa bona essent, ne (...)

And it became clear to me that those things are still good, even if they are corrupted. They could not be corrupted, even if they were supremely good; but if they were supremely good, or not good at all, there was nothing in them to be corrupted5.

  • 6  Sullivan, 2006, p. 27.

6To consider that a part consisted of the characteristics of the whole would, according to Augustine, be a fallacy6. The controversy of parts and wholes centered around the treatments of division and integration, and sought to address the notion of identity through time and change: should water and wine be mixed, what would be the resulting mixture? Would water and wine preserve or lose their qualities?

7Taking the mixture of water as a central motif, this paper proposes to examine the notion of integritas and how it related to notions of sickness and moral dissolution. In the second part, notions of dissolution are formulated and discarded as inconclusive, marking the shift from physical considerations to the formulation of a new moral system. The third part reflects on the ambiguity in the meaning of the verb baptizare—both as the expression of the Holy Sacrament and as a description of the infusing of water into wine—and how it articulates and sustains complementary yet antagonistic interpretations within the debate.

Integritas

  • 7  Holder, 2011, p. 353.
  • 8  Cicerus, De finibus 2, 11, 34.
  • 9  Id., In verrem 2, 1, 15.

8Already in Classical thought, integritas stands for the organic union of the part with the whole7. In Cicero’s works, the term is used to denote completeness, soundness of mind8, innocence, or even chastity9.All in all, integritas refers to a quality of «wholeness» that must be present, in the human body and in the body of law. Such wholeness defines axioms such as unity, consistency, purity, unspoiledness and uncorruptedness.

  • 10  «Bonus monachus vix bonum clericum faciat, si adsit ei sufficiens continentia, et tamen desit inst (...)

9For Augustine, integrity was a fundamental moral quality, and he made it one of the necessary conditions for a man to enter the clergy: «even a good monk would scarcely qualify to be a good clerk; even if he had sufficient continence, for he may lack the necessary instruction, or the integrity of a normal person10». In his commentary on the book of Genesis, Augustine gives the example of the mixed liquids, none of which will retain their purity (integritas), and compares it to the union of light and air, while admitting a unio inconfusa where the elements continue to exist in essence, whether they are corrupted or dissolved:

  • 11  «Nam et ipse corporis dolor in quolibet animante magna et mirabilis animae vis est, quae illam com (...)

And after all, even bodily pain in any living creature is in itself a great and wonderful power of the soul, which is quickening the entire organism and holding it together by being mixed in it in an unnameable way, and giving it a certain unity in its own measure, for if I may so put it, the soul is not indifferent to being corrupted and dissolved but reacts to this with indignation11.

  • 12  «Incolumitas porro in ipsa vita, ac salute, atque integritate animi et corporis constituta est» (I (...)
  • 13  «Sanitas est integritas corporis et temperantia naturae ex calido et humido, quod est sanguis; und (...)

10In Augustine’s view, mixing constitutes an accident, an absence of good caused by an external agent that ultimately rests on the loss of integrity: «Soundness consists in the possession of life itself, and health and integrity of mind and body12». For Isidore on the other hand, integritas elicits a direct comparison between the concepts of integritas and sanitas. For Isidore, the notion of integrity was connected to sanitas (good health), and depended on a balanced proportion of the warm humor or blood: «health constitutes the integrity of nature and temperance of the body composed of the warm and the wet, which is the blood, so that health is spoken of according to the state of the blood13». For Isidore the definition of sanitas was contingent upon a balance between the forces that form the macrocosm of nature. The very well-being of the body depended on this notion of balanced humors. A disproportionate increase in any humor could impose itself in a defining way upon the body, leading to a destruction of the whole.

Integrity and health

11The relationship between water and wine is the central motif in Los denuestos and rests on an etiological association between mixing and dissolution. The underlying assumption is that mixing would compromise the wholeness of substance and corrupt its integrity. This idea is present in the debate right from wine’s initial plea, where wine reads evil intent in water’s approach to wine. Mixing water and wine turns wine into something humble and weak:

  • 14  Razón, v. 165-169.

¡Mucho m’es uenido mal companero!
Agua, as mala mana,
non querja auer la tu compana;que quando te legas a buen bino
fazes-lo feble eτ mesquino14.

  • 15  «Mesquino, mal fadado, tan mala hora fueste nado/ que tú fueste tan rico/ agora eres mesquinu,/ di (...)

12The interest of this passage lies in the use of the word mesquino, a common term in medieval debates. In the Disputa del alma y del cuerpo, the soul argues the decrepitude and decadence of a body that is unable to hold on to its status and possessions, and opposes the concept of rich to that of mesquino: «Oh you poor [mesquino], ill-fated man, you were born with such luck that you went from rich to poor [mesquino]. Tell me, where are the monies that you put in a hiding place15?».

  • 16Simó, 1991, p. 270.

13The opposition between wealth and poverty raises a further issue of moral debasement. This idea, already suggested by Lourdes Simó16, relates to a passage in the book of Isaiah. In that section, mixing water is compared to the transformation of silver into dross and to the faithlessness and immorality of the city, which he compares in turn to a harlot:

  • 17  «Quomodo facta est meretrix civitas fidelis, plena judicii? justitia habitavit in ea, nunc autem h (...)

How is the faithful city become a harlot! It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water17.

  • 18  «El mezquino después de comer le hace frío porque bebe agua y no bebe vino» (Motis Dolader, 2003, (...)

14By considering water as a vile substance, medieval writers justified the idea that drinking water during meals was a sure way of causing stomach problems: «the unhappy man catches cold after eating because he drinks water and not wine18». Writing at the beginning of the eleventh century, the Muslim scholar Ibn Sīnā established that water could be harmful for health if it were not properly administered, for it could dilute strength and weaken the body. Therefore, Ibn Sīnā recommended abstaining from water during meals, but only at the end, and in small quantities. One was also not to drink water while fasting, bathing, or after having intercourse. G. of Cremona’s thirteenth-century translation rendered the Arabic text as follows:

  • 19  «Et secustodire debent, ne rem frigidam actu bibant in egressione balnei, aut in balneo; quem pori (...)

And they should take care not to drink anything cold when they come out of the bath, or in the bath itself, for the pores are open, and thus the cold swiftly reaches the main members of the body and saps their strenght19.

15The motif of mixing water and wine reappears in Augustine’s discussion of spirit and soul. In his treatise Contra Faustum, Augustine maintained that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and that the divineis bound to the human nature as closely and intimately as the coloring poured into a liquid binds with every portion of it:

  • 20  «Vos ideo utrumque accipitis, quia in neutro estis pleni, sed semi: alterumque ex altero in vobis (...)

You receive both because you are only half filled with each, and as far as you are concerned, the one is not completed, but corrupted by the other. For vessels half filled should not be filled up with anything of a different nature from what they already contain, for wine should be filled up with wine, honey with honey, vinegar with vinegar. For to pour gall on honey, or water on wine, or alkalies on vinegar, is not addition, but adulteration20.

16As in the Contra Faustum, Los denuestos argues that the mixing of water and wine entails a loss of integrity. This loss of integrity in turn carries implicit a threat of sickness. From this point of view, water’s initial plea stands not only as an effort to maintain purity, but also as a warning against seemingly inevitable contamination.

Preserving integrity

17The transformation of water into wine evokes images of union and joy. This aspect becomes evident in the discussion of integrity and its relevance to the marriages in Cana. According to the author of Los denuestos, the loss of integrity entails a loss of the qualities attributed to wholeness. If water is infused into wine, wine will lose part of its qualities and will turn into a different substance. Drawing once more on the perils of mixing, the poem posits the perils of dissolution in terms of color, a metaphor that it also draws on to establish a rhetorical opposition between sickness and health. Just as red represents health, water is seen as a base and vile substance:

  • 21  Razón, v. 183-190.

El uino, con sana pleno,
dixo: «!Don agua, bierua uos ueno!
!Su<i>zia, desbergonçada,
salit buscar otra posada!que podedes a Dios iurar
que nu[n]ca entrastes en tal lugar.
antes amaryella τ astrosa,
agora uermeia τ fermosa
21.

  • 22  Suso López, 1993, p 164. Red also represents majesty, like in the red cloth of Christ, and is some (...)
  • 23  González Arce, 1993. In the Libro de Buen Amor, red is associated with beauty and health, as refle (...)

18Medieval Spanish literature attributes to the color red a variety of meanings associated with wealth and wits. As early as in the Song of Roland, red is used to signify the power of God and to encourage people to fight the infidel22. In the Castilian court, the king wore red to distinguish him from his noblemen. The clerks employed by the Crown were in fact not allowed to wear silk, but canons could wear it as a lining under their clothes as long as it was not yellow or red, the component colors of scarlet, which symbolized the Voice of Christ on earth, and which the monarch reserved for himself23.

  • 24  «Entre rojo y bermejo hazemos diferencia, porque el rojo es vna color dorada; la bermeja es más en (...)

19Furthermore, the color bermejo stood for health and shrewdness. This is made clear in Covarrubias’ Tesoro, which distinguished between rojo (red) and bermejo (ginger), which was brighter and more colorful: «We distinguish between red and ginger because red is a golden color; ginger is brighter and is more colorful, and thus people with ginger hair are considered to be cautious and cunning24».

  • 25  «Entre las colores se tiene por la mas infelice, por ser la de la muerte y de la larga y peligrosa (...)
  • 26  In 1215, the 4th Lateran Council established that all Jews were to wear a yellow badge. This order (...)

20As for yellow, the Tesoro identified it as the color of death and sickness: «of all colors it is the saddest because it is the color of death and of the long, difficult disease, and the color associated with lovers25».Yellow was traditionally associated with Jewishness26.

  • 27  Ioannis, 2: 6-10.
  • 28 «Hoc fecit initium signorum Jesus in Cana Galilæ; et manifestavit gloriam suam, et crediderunt in e (...)

21In the Scriptures, the debasement implicit in the mixing of water and wine was undoubtedly related to the medieval interpretation of the marriages in Cana. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus was attending a wedding in Cana with his disciples when the hosts ran out of wine. Jesus’ mother told him that the guests had no wine, and he replied that his time had not come. Mary then told the servants to do as her son told them, and he instructed them to fill the empty containers with water and to draw out some and take it to the master of ceremonies. After tasting the water that had become wine, and not knowing what Jesus had done, he remarked to the bridegroom that he had departed from the custom of serving the best wine first by serving it last27. John concludes his account by saying: «This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him28».

22For Augustine, the episode of the marriage in Cana constituted a legitimation of the sacrament of marriage and spoke for pre-marital chastity. In Augustine’s view, women who preserved their chastity until marriage were true to the parable of Cana, where the bridegroom reserved the good wine for the end:

  • 29  «Ac per hoc ergo Dominus invitatus venit ad nuptias, ut conjugalis castitas firmaretur, et ostende (...)

And for this cause, therefore, did the Lord on being invited, come to the marriage, to confirm conjugal chastity, and to show forth the sacrament of marriage. For the bridegroom in that marriage, to whom it was said, «You have kept the good wine until now» represented the person of the Lord. For the good wine—namely, the gospel—Christ has kept until now29.

The inevitability of mixing

23According to John Chrysostom, God could have chosen to fill the amphorae with wine from nothing, but instead chose to transform the water that they already contained, thus revealing that he did not mean to break the law but to fulfill it, following the prophecy set forth in the scriptures:

  • 30  «Potuit quidem vacuas implere vino, qui cuncta creat ex nihilo: sed maluit de aqua vinum facere, u (...)

He could indeed have filled something empty with wine, he who creates all things from nothing, but he preferred to make the wine from water, to teach that he was not dissolving the law, but fulfilling itso as not to do or teach anything other than those that prophecy foretold30.

24The idea that the newer substance is better than the old rested on the assumption that the new is always better than the old. The pre-existence of water is still problematic and entails a certain degree of superiority, a sense of dependence between the old and the new dispensation. This idea is made clear in water’s preeminence over wine:

  • 31  Razón, v. 106-111.

Que no a homne que no lo sepa
que fillo sodes de la çepa,
y por uerdat uos digo
que non ssodes pora comigo;que grant tiempo a ave uuestra madre sserye ardud[a],
ssi non fusse por mj aiuda.
Mas quando ve
[yo] que le van a cortar,
ploro τ fago-la vino levar
31.

  • 32  For a discussion of the other interpretations of verse 111, see Franchini, 1993, p. 124. See Libro (...)
  • 33  See the Portuguese proverb: «não passar da cepa torta», meaning «to stay in the same situation, to (...)
  • 34  «Hijo de la cepa tuerta tú, que te quieres meter, y yo, que te abro la puerta» (Díaz González, 198 (...)

25The meaning of this passage is further clarified by the expression cepa tuerta that water uses to insult wine32. A cepa tuerta [twisted vine] is a vine that extends its tendrils around an object33. In this proverb, a direct expletive—son of the twisted vine—is directed at wine, as a humorous threat. A man is confronted by wine but cannot keep from opening his door/mouth when the vine wants to come in: «son of the twisted vine, you want to come in and I open the door34».

  • 35  «Mater tua quasi vinea in sanguine tuo super aquam plantata est: fructus ejus et frondes ejus crev (...)

26The image of the twisted vine appears in the book of Ezekiel, as a parable of the city of Jerusalem. In this passage, the vine is nurtured by water and propagated through its many fruits: «Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters35». Drawing on this idea, John Chrysostom compares the transformation of water into wine to the passage from rainwater into wine, which stands as irrefutable proof of divinity of Christ:

  • 36  «Nunc igitur ostendens, se eundem ipsum esse, qui aquam in vineis mutat, et pluviam per radicem in (...)

But to show that it is He who transforms water in the vine plants, and who converts the rain by its passage through the root into wine, He effected in a moment at the wedding that which in the plant takes much longer36.

  • 37  See Ambrosius, Exposition Evangelii secundum Lucam, 1, 7: «In operibus Patris Jesus videtur, in op (...)

27The examples are many37. Overall, the image of water and wine is used to present a teleological view of time, and to support the interdependence of water and wine, not as opposite elements but as vivid symbols of the fulfillment that took place during the marriage in Cana.

Addition

28Inasmuch as they undergo a change of essence, the mixing of water and wine is subject to the laws of addition and corruption. As we saw previously, in his treatise Contra Faustum, Augustine credits the words of Faustus, who bluntly rejects the content of the Old Testament on the grounds that it had been completely fulfilled by the New. For Faustus, something half filled should not be filled with anything of a different nature from what it had already originally contained. If it contained wine, it should be filled up with wine, honey with honey, vinegar with vinegar. For to pour gall on honey, or water on wine, or alkalis on vinegar is not addition, but adulteration:

  • 38  «Vos ideo utrumque accipitis, quia in neutro estis pleni, sed semi: alterumque ex altero in vobis (...)

You receive both because you are only half filled with each, and as far as you are concerned, the one is not completed, but corrupted by the other. For vessels half filled should not be filled up with anything of a different nature from what they already contain, for wine should be filled up with wine, honey with honey, vinegar with vinegar. For to pour gall on honey, or water on wine, or alkalies on vinegar, is not addition, but adulteration38.

29From a doctrinal standpoint, Augustine’s vision allows for the existence of the two substances, and admits the conception of mixing water and wine not as an outright mixture but as a natural phenomenon that ensures the plenitude of good wine. From this perpective, the transformation of water into wine is nothing but the result of a natural process yielding a whole new substance.

Addition and strength

30Set against the background of Augustinian thought, Los denuestos points out the futility of the debate between water and wine, which prepares the ground for mere empty boasting. From now on, both water and wine will compete to declare their excellence in a humorous way, shifting the focus now from attack to empty boast. The ambiguity of wine’s position is highlighted by its own ridiculous strength, which empowers men but at the same time weakens them. To make its point, wine boastfully compares its strength to that of Samson, were he still alive:

  • 39Razón, v. 204-215.

Respondio el vino [luego]:
«agua, enti[en]do que lo dizes por juego.
Por uerdat plaçe.m de coraço[n]
por que somos en est[a] Razon;ca en esto que dizes puedes entender
como es grant el mjo poder.
Ca ueyes que no e manos nj piedes
eio a muchos valie
[n]tes;
E si farya a qua
[n]tos en el mu[n]do [son],
τ si biuo fuese, Sanson.
E dexemos todo lo al:
la mesa si
[n] mj nada non ual»39.

  • 40  Libro de Alexandre, s. 48.
  • 41 Poema de Fernán González, s. 272. According to Franchini, 1993, p. 207, Razón de Amor uses the term (...)
  • 42  Muñoz, 2003, p. 72.

31The term razón is used in the sense of understanding or correct thinking and with this sense appears in the Libro de Alexandre40 and the Poema de Fernán González41. For Augustine, the corresponding Latin term—ratio—expresses the existence of a series of things that are characterized by necessity, universality, immutability and eternity, and which may rightly be declared objects of true knowledge42. To illustrate this point, Augustine contended that it was the ratio that governed the lower part of the soul and the body:

  • 43  «Ipsa enim cognitio, qua intelligitur in nobis aliud esse quod ratione dominetur, aliud quod ratio (...)

This same realization, by which we come to understand that there is something in us that exercises a rational mastery, and something else that is compliant with reason. This same realization is like the producing of the woman from the man’s rib, to signify that they are joined together. Henceforth, we stand in need of perfect wisdom so that each of us exercises mastery over this part of ourselves, so that the desire of the flesh does not act against the spirit, but remains subject to it, so that this desire of the flesh is not opposed to reason, and so that in its opposition ceases to be of the flesh43.

32Using pharisaic claims and propositional arguments, wine and water engage in a repartee that tends to undermine and reexamine the terms of the debate. Rather than putting forward discourses on the superiority of wine or water, the debaters now seek to bring the debate itself into question, and reconsider the union within the paradigm of biblical exegesis. In this context, the comparison between wine’s power to subdue men and Samson’s proverbial strength undermines the value of the power invested in wine.

  • 44  «Neminem spontaneam mortem sibi inferre debere» (Id., Civitas Dei 1, 26; PL 41: 39).

33According to medieval tradition, Samson was considered a prototype of Jesus, but also a model warrior whose strength depended on the fortitude of his faith. At the same time, Samson’s suicide and his killing of the Philistines cast doubt on his status as a hero, deceived as he is by the persuasive powers of Delilah. In Civitas Dei, Augustine stated that saints were in fact not always to be followed: «no man ought to inflict on himself voluntary death44». Echoing Augustine’s commentary, Samson’s proverbial strength and stupidity emphasize the ambiguity of the hero and further undermine the worthiness of wine, inasmuch as it compares itself with the reluctant hero.

Moralizing mixture

34The lame comparison between the strengths of wine and of Samson brings a note of absurdity to the debate. To understand the humorous transition from a prohibition of mixing to empty boasting, the author of Los denuestos is quite happy to depict water or wine laughing at the other’s expense. Laughter in Los denuestos is elicited by the gulf between wisdom and foolishness and is used to satirize forms of behavior that transgress the predominant moral code. In the face of mixing, wine’s derision expresses a distinctive ideological viewpoint, which is opposed to the moral of society and the criticism of levity contained in medieval theological writings.

35Laughter destroys and distorts the same truth it seeks to unveil, and presents wine’s implausible power as a show of weakness. In keeping with this logic, water is quick to present wine’s strength as a sign of weakness. Should wine be as strong as it says, it ought to be able to inebriate a common man and still keep him from falling into the mud:

  • 45  Razón, v. 216-222.

Ell agua iaze muerta Ridiendo
de lo quel uino esta diziendo:
«Don uino, si uos de Dios salut,que uos me fagades agora una virtud:
ffartad bien un uillano,
no lo prenda niguno de la mano,
τ si antes d’una pasada no cayere en el lodo,
Dios ssodes de tod en todo<do>»
45.

36Wine’s reply is swift. Water attempts to restore the opposition between water and wine, but is in danger of becoming what it seeks to combat. By cleansing what is soiled, water does nothing but soil itself. Knowing this, wine accuses water of excessive zeal and points out the fact that excessive cleansing leads to contamination and the transformation of water into a lesser substance:

  • 46  Razón, v. 238-241.

E sueles lauar pies e manosτ limpiar muchos lixos[os] panos.
E sueles tanto andar co[n] poluo mesclada
fasta qu’en lo
[do] eres tornada46.

  • 47  There is an important example narrated by Strabo which refers to Calcante, a man who died of laugh (...)
  • 48  «Exspectans exspectavi Dominum, et intendit mihi. Et exaudivit preces meas, et eduxit me de lacu m (...)
  • 49  «Contigit enim eis illud veri proverbii: Canis reversus ad suum vomitum: et, Sus lota in volutabro (...)

37The association between laughter and wine is not uncommon in classical literature47. Clay on the other hand presents conflicting values. Despite the fact that clay was the substance from which God molded Adam, clay could also be understood to be polluted water. This sense is made explicit in Psalm 39: 2-3, where clay is seen as the lowest level to which man could fall: «I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings48». In 2 Petrus 2: 22, clay stands for moral debasement, the substance where hogs roll: «But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire49».

  • 50  Augustinus, De Genesi 12, 34, 67; PL 34: 483.

38In a similar vein, Augustine comments on the contradiction between the fact that man is the greatest thing after God, yet is composed of the basest matter. To explain this contradiction, Augustine resorts to an allegorical system, explaining the dual nature of clay as a moral explanation of man’s dual inclination. For Augustine, man had been created of two different natures: the lowest of the low, and spirit from the higher universe. Because man belonged to both worlds, he was pulled between two extremes. Depending on his inclination he would strive for Heaven or the perils of Hell50. To illustrate the natural inclination to baseness, Augustine mentions the actions of demons who insist on cleaning their friends with sponges, yet end up becoming polluted by their own dirt. He says that had they avoided contact, they would also have avoided pollution:

  • 51  «Nisi forte quis dicat more spongiarum uel huiusce modi rerum mundare daemones amicos suos, ut tan (...)

Unless, perhaps, some one may say that, like sponges or things of that sort, the demons themselves, in the process of cleansing their friends, become themselves as filthy as the others become clean. But if this is the solution, then the gods, who shun contact or intercourse with men for fear of pollution, mix with demons who are polluted51.

39The dual nature of clay is an important element in the discussion between water and wine and is directly referenced not only by wine’s wallowing in mire, but also by the idea that water’s excessive zeal can cause defilement.

Mixture and divinity

40The defilement of water opens the text to a series of religious interpretations that interplay with its humorous rant. In its diatribe, wine presents what he thinks is the ultimate argument against water. Wine is so powerful—he says—that he can make the blind see, the mute speak and the sick man sing (organar):

  • 52  Razón, v. 246-251.

Yo fa<i>go al çiego ueyer
y al coxo coRer
y al mudo faubla[r]
y al enfermo organar asi co[m] dize en e scripto,
De [mi] fazen el cuerpo de Iesu Cristo52.

  • 53  «Mucho fas el dinero, et mucho es de amar,/ al torpe fase bueno, et omen de prestar,/ fase correr (...)
  • 54  «Nummus aegros sanat, secat, urit, et aspera planat,/ vile facit carum, predulceque reddit amarum, (...)

41E. Franchini has already pointed out the direct relationship that miracle-making in these verses bears to a similar passage in the Libro de Buen Amor: «Great is the power of money, and of great love, it sharpens the clumsy, and makes him a man of worth, it makes the lame run53», and with the Goliardic poem «In terra summus rex»: «Money cures the sick one, cuts, burns and levels any difficulties, turns the vile into something precious and the bitter into something sweet, and makes deaf people hear, and the limps walk54».

42As in Los denuestos, both poems use miracle-making as a sign of power, and establish the centrality of money in a new value system where nothing is what it seems, and where everything becomes its own opposite.

  • 55  Little and Rosenwein, 2003, p. 517.

43Wine’s final declaration («De [mi] fazen el cuerpo de Iesu Cristo») stresses the relationship of miracles with the Eucharist and places wine’s plea within a liturgical setting where wine and bread function as material objects55. Inasmuch as it involved a transformation of these substances into the body and blood of Christ, the Eucharist allowed it to articulate images of transformation.

  • 56  Burke, 1998, p. 154.

44Writing on Los denuestos, J. F. Burke has noted the inconsistency of this passage. According to the first Canon of the 4th Lateran Council (1215), the bread of the Eucharist is transformed into the body of Christ, while the wine becomes His blood. «Wine’s statement, writes Burke, might be taken as no more than a bit of metonymic exaggeration the wine as part standing for the whole body56».

  • 57  Ambrosius, De Sacramentis 4, 4, 19-20; PL 16: 443A.

45The problem of transubstantiation has a long history in medieval thought. In his sermon on The Order of Melchisedech, Ambrose stated that the body of Christ was made from bread, and that water and wine were mingled in such a way that it had no resemblance to blood57. For Augustine, who follows Cyprian of Carthage, on the other hand, the problem was that the chalice should contain just water, or water mixed with wine. As Christ said «I am the true vine», the blood of Christ can only be wine, and not water:

  • 58  «Admonitos autem nos scias, inquit, ut in calice offerendo dominica tradition servetur, eque aliud (...)

Observe, he says, that we are instructed, in presenting the cup, to maintain the custom handed down to us from the Lord, and to do nothing that our Lord has not first done before us: so that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be offered mixed with wine. For, as Christ says, «I am the true vine», it follows that the blood of Christ is wine, not water58.

46Cyprian, however, goes on to say that since wine represents Christ and water represents humanity, the two cannot be separated in the chalice.

47In his study of this passage, E. Franchini mentions a sermon by R. Lull (1235-1315) in which he expands the metaphor of the Eucharistic union to signify the mystic union of lovers:

  • 59  «Eguals coses son propinqüitat e llunyedat entre lamic e lamat; cor enaixí com mesclament daigu (...)

The same thing is proximity and remoteness between the lover and the beloved; for just as in mixing water and wine, the love of the lover and the beloved mix together; just like with heat and glare, their love is linked; and just like essence and being, they conjugate and come close to each other59.

Baptism as mixture

48Understanding the unifying power of wine, water is quick to take on wine’s alleged use of divine worth, and to insinuate that water and wine need in fact to be together. To do this, water jestingly accuses wine of manipulating the notion of divinitas to his own advantage. He simply knows too much of it.

49In addition to offering an occasion for derision of wine’s knowledge, the term divinitas places the conclusion of Los denuestos within the framework of a Christological discussion, and relates the role of wine in the miracle of transubstantiation to the use of water in the sacrament of baptism:

  • 60  Razón, v. 252-259.

!Asi, don uino, por carydad,
que tanta sabedes de diujnidat!
Alavuut, io y todo algo e en cristianjsmo,que de agua fazen el batissmo.
E dize Dios que los [que] de agua fueren bautizados
fillos de Dios seran clamados,
e llos que de agua non fueren bautizados
fillos de Dios non sera
[n] clamados60.

50The term divinitas appears frequently in the literature of the thirteenth century, always in opposition to the term humanitas. In his Comentarius in distinctionem, Bonaventure paraphrases a passage of Peter Lombard and makes the question of divinitas a central argument in the dispute as to whether the sacraments are «contentive of grace». Just as divinitas is said to be hidden in the flesh, the remission of sins lies in baptism:

  • 61  «Latuit Divinitas in carne, remissio peccatorum in baptismo; sed Divinitas erat in carne secundum (...)

Divinity lies in the flesh, just as the forgiveness of sinners lies in baptism; but Divinity was part of the flesh in truth, and so lies the forgiveness of sinners in baptism; but Divinity exists through Grace, therefore Grace exists in baptism61.

51But there can be no purification without water. For Augustine, the baptism of Christ is a cleansing in the Word. Without water or the Word, there would be no baptism:

  • 62  «Vis nosse quia ipse baptizat, non solum spiritu, sed etiam aqua? Audi Apostolum: Sicut Christus, (...)

Would you know that He baptizes, not only in Spirit, but also with water? Hear the apostle:0020«Even as Christ», says he, «loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, purifying it with the washing of water by the Word, so that He might present to Himself a glorious Church, without stain, or wrinkle, or any such thing». Purifying it. How? «With the washing of water by the Word». What is the baptism of Christ? The washing of water by the Word. Take away the water, there is no baptism; take away the Word, there is no baptism62.

  • 63  Martin, 2003, p. 24.
  • 64  Veas Arteseros, 2005, p. 198.

52Besides standing for the sacrament, the verb baptizare was frequently used in the Middle Ages to signify the infusion of water into wine. This infusion was used by innkeepers to dilute wine, and as a way of making larger profits. In an article on the baptizing of wine in Italian tradition, A. Lynn Martin identifies the mixing of water and wine with the wine of workers and peasants, and explains how in some parts of Italy, some workers received mezzo vino (watered wine) as part of their wages63. Legal provisions forbidding the mixing of water and wine are frequent. Around 1475, in Lorca and Murcia, local authorities sought to regulate the selling of wine. If someone was suspected of hiding or selling wine in a house, the authorities had permission to enter the house to search for the wine. If no agreement was reached, the authorities had the right to fill the vats with water, in order to spoil whatever wine was in them64.

  • 65  «Baptizare id vocant, ut vinum sit christianum. Ea erat meo tempore elegantia philosophica […] Ill (...)

53The fear of ruining wine reappears in a dialogue written by J. L. Vives some two hundred years after Los denuestos. In this dialogue, one of the protagonists calls mixing water into wine an act of baptism that causes the baptizer to be «unbaptized»: «They call it baptizing, so as to make the wine become Christian. In my time that was the elegance of philosophy [...] they baptize wine and they unbaptize themselves65».

54Rather than stressing these aspects, the author of the poem uses patristic references to convey a clear meaning: since water is used for baptism and baptism determines membership of the church, baptizing with water is necessarily good. Anyone not baptized with water does not belong to the world of Christians. This includes wine.

  • 66  Stallybrass and White, 1986, p. 285.

55The author of the poem is able to elicit a direct correlation between the beginning and end of the debate between water and wine. Rather than concentrating on the dogmatic meaning of Christianity, the author uses the definition of baptism to undermine the initial proposition of the poem. Against the initial claim that water and wine need to be separate, their infusion in the baptism of wine gives the mixture of water and wine an air of legitimacy, and invites us to question the rigid moral code enunciated in the poem. In this sense, their debate becomes what Stallybrass calls a «resource of actions, images and roles which may invoke both to model and legitimate desire and to degrade all that is spiritual and abstract66».

56A close look into the poem reveals the author’s purpose in favoring wine. It is wine which allows him to evoke—not without some nostalgia—a social gathering invigorated by wine. The author’s own enthusiasm comes over as nostalgia for a vanished world. The mixing of water and wine offers the author an opportunity to understand the world where the poem is composed and to offer a subversive yet compliant notion of morality. By means of deceptive representation of Augustinian thought, the debate suggests that while water and wine are distinct elements, they are at the same time complementary inasmuch as their admixture is desirable.

57Viewed in this light, the last verse of the poem acquires new meaning. The propositions put forth in the beginning having been undermined, the reader is invited to re-read the poem and re-examine its postulates. Just as the mixing of water and wine was supposed to render wine and water into something pobre and mesquino, the evocation of wine projects a longing for the pleasures that wine can provide. Thus, the language constitutes a locus of desire, an alternate reality where everything is possible. As it narrates the dissolute effects of wine, water longs for the very thing it condemns, at the same time perpetuating the desire for a union that was in principle abhorrent.

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Notes

1  For the text of Los denuestos, I follow Franchinis edition of the poem (Franchini, 1993, pp. 47-51, cited as Razón when referring only to the original text). All Bible references in Latin are taken from the Biblia Vulgata Clementina. Where indicated, patristic texts are taken from the Patrologia Latina and the Patrologia Graeca. All translations from Latin in this essay are mine or from the King James version of the Bible. A conference version of this paper was presented at the Midwest Medieval Association Meeting in Manhattan, Kansas, in February 2002. I would like to express my gratitude to Peter Stotz, Margarita Iriarte, José Luis Correa, Frank Domínguez, and to several anonymous readers for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this essay. This work is dedicated to Sebastian Maliqah. All errors remain my own.

2  Razón, v. 145.

3  Azuela, 1991, p. 31.

4  Franchini, 1993, p. 76.

5  «Et manifestatum est mihi quoniam bona sunt quae corrumpuntur, quae neque si summa bona essent, neque nisi bona essent, corrumpi possent: quia si summa bona essent, si autem nulla bona essent, quid in eis corrumperetur non esset»(Augustinus, Confessiones 7, 12, 18; PL 32: 743).

6  Sullivan, 2006, p. 27.

7  Holder, 2011, p. 353.

8  Cicerus, De finibus 2, 11, 34.

9  Id., In verrem 2, 1, 15.

10  «Bonus monachus vix bonum clericum faciat, si adsit ei sufficiens continentia, et tamen desit instructio necessaria, aut personae regularis integritas» (Augustinus, Epistola 60; PL 33: 228).

11  «Nam et ipse corporis dolor in quolibet animante magna et mirabilis animae vis est, quae illam compagem ineffabili permixtione vitaliter continet, et in quamdam sui moduli redigit unitatem, cum eam non indifferenter, sed, ut ita dicam, indignanter, patitur corrumpi atque dissolvi»(Id., De Genesi 3, 16, 25; PL 34: 290).

12  «Incolumitas porro in ipsa vita, ac salute, atque integritate animi et corporis constituta est» (Id., Epistola 130, 6, 13; PL: 499).

13  «Sanitas est integritas corporis et temperantia naturae ex calido et humido, quod est sanguis; unde et sanitas dicta est, quasi sanguinis status» (Isidorus, Etymologiae 1, 4, 5; PL 82: 183).

14  Razón, v. 165-169.

15  «Mesquino, mal fadado, tan mala hora fueste nado/ que tú fueste tan rico/ agora eres mesquinu,/ dim ¿ó son tos dineros, que tú misisten estero?» (Razón, v. 70).

16Simó, 1991, p. 270.

17  «Quomodo facta est meretrix civitas fidelis, plena judicii? justitia habitavit in ea, nunc autem homicidæ. Argentum tuum versum est in scoriam; vinum tuum mistum est aqua» (Isaiah, 1: 21-25).

18  «El mezquino después de comer le hace frío porque bebe agua y no bebe vino» (Motis Dolader, 2003, p. 206).

19  «Et secustodire debent, ne rem frigidam actu bibant in egressione balnei, aut in balneo; quem pori sunt aperti, quare frigiditas non tardatur, quin ad membrorum principalium corpora procedar, et ipsorum corrumpant virtutes» (Ibn Sina, Liber Canonis Medicinae 1, 3, 2, c. 5, p. 173).

20  «Vos ideo utrumque accipitis, quia in neutro estis pleni, sed semi: alterumque ex altero in vobis non tam repletur, quam corrumpitur; quia et sema vasa nunquam de dissimili implentur materia, sed de eadem ac sibi simili, ut vini vino, mellis melle, et aceti aceto: quibus si dissimilia et non sui generis superfundas, ut melli fel, et aquam vino, et aceto garos: non repletio vocabitur haec, sed adulterium» (Augustinus, Contra Faustum 15, 1; PL 42: 301-302).

21  Razón, v. 183-190.

22  Suso López, 1993, p 164. Red also represents majesty, like in the red cloth of Christ, and is sometimes used to denigrate the Jews (Horozco, 2005, pp. 403-412).

23  González Arce, 1993. In the Libro de Buen Amor, red is associated with beauty and health, as reflected in the description of the suitable woman given by don Amor to the Arcipreste: «La narís afilada, los dientes menudillos,/ egoales, e bien blancos, un poco apretadillos,/ las ensivas bermejas, los dientes agudillos,/ los labros de la boca vermejos, angostillos» [Her nose delicate, her teeth small and similar in size and white, all tight, her gums red, the teeth pointy, the mouth lips red, small] (Ruiz, Libro de Buen Amor, p. 434).

24  «Entre rojo y bermejo hazemos diferencia, porque el rojo es vna color dorada; la bermeja es más encendida y arguye más color y assi son tenidos los bermejos por cautelosos, y astutos» (Covarrubias, Tesoro de la lengua castellana, p. 131).

25  «Entre las colores se tiene por la mas infelice, por ser la de la muerte y de la larga y peligrosa enfermedad, y la color de los enamorados»(Ibid., p. 63). In the Libro de Buen Amor, the yellowness of lard can only be tempered with good wine: «Si non fuese la çeçina con el grueso toçino/ que estaba amarillo de días mortesino,/ que non podía de gordo lidiar sin el buen vino/ estaba muy señero, çecado e mesquino» («If bacon were not with fat, which was yellow from the many days of death, because it was so fat that it could not fight without wine, it would stand alone, blind and sad») [Ruiz, Libro de Buen Amor, s. 1123].

26  In 1215, the 4th Lateran Council established that all Jews were to wear a yellow badge. This order was enforced in Spain in the 13th century (Amran, 2006, p. 5). The surname «Amarillo» is amply documented as a Jewish name in the 15th century (Motis Dolader, 2003, p. 161).

27  Ioannis, 2: 6-10.

28 «Hoc fecit initium signorum Jesus in Cana Galilæ; et manifestavit gloriam suam, et crediderunt in eum discipuli ejus» (Id., 2: 11).

29  «Ac per hoc ergo Dominus invitatus venit ad nuptias, ut conjugalis castitas firmaretur, et ostenderetur sacramentum nuptiarum: quia et illarum muptiarum sponsus persinam Domini figurabat, cui dictum est, servasti vinum bonum usque adhunc. Bonum enim unum Christus servavit usque adhuc, id est, Evangelium suum» (Augustinus, Tractatus in Ioannis evangelium 9, 1; PL 35: 1459). Honorius of Autun admits that the transformation of water into wine had brought great joy to the wedding (Honorius of Autun, Speculum ecclesiae, PL 172: 834).

30  «Potuit quidem vacuas implere vino, qui cuncta creat ex nihilo: sed maluit de aqua vinum facere, ut doceret se non solvere legem, sed implere nec in evangelio alia facere vel docere quam quae prophetia praedixit» (Chrysostomos, Libri deflorationum 114; 364 AB; PL 157: 823A). Irenaeus compares the mixing of water to heresy (Irenaeus, Adversus Hareses 4,12, 1, 3; PG 7a: 3816).

31  Razón, v. 106-111.

32  For a discussion of the other interpretations of verse 111, see Franchini, 1993, p. 124. See Libro de Alexandre: «fazié meter las viñas pora vino levar» (2558c).

33  See the Portuguese proverb: «não passar da cepa torta», meaning «to stay in the same situation, to fail to go forward».

34  «Hijo de la cepa tuerta tú, que te quieres meter, y yo, que te abro la puerta» (Díaz González, 1987).

35  «Mater tua quasi vinea in sanguine tuo super aquam plantata est: fructus ejus et frondes ejus creverunt ex aquis multis» (Ezekiel, 19: 10).

36  «Nunc igitur ostendens, se eundem ipsum esse, qui aquam in vineis mutat, et pluviam per radicem in vinum convertit, id quod in ipsa planta longiori tempore facit, is repende in nuptiis operatus est»(Chrysostomos, Homily on the Gospel of St John 22; PG 59: 135).

37  See Ambrosius, Exposition Evangelii secundum Lucam, 1, 7: «In operibus Patris Jesus videtur, in operibus Filii et Pater cernitur. Vidit Jesum qui Galilaeum illud mysterium, id est, ex aqua vinum factum vidit; quod nemo posset, nisi mundi Dominus elementa convertere» (Ibid., 1, 7; PL 15: 1537B).

38  «Vos ideo utrumque accipitis, quia in neutro estis pleni, sed semi: alterumque ex altero in vobis non tam repletur, quam corrumpitur; quia et sema vasa nunquam de dissimili implentur materia, sed de eadem ac sibi simili, ut vini vino, mellis melle, et aceti aceto: quibus si dissimilia et non sui generis superfundas, ut melli fel, et aquam vino, et aceto garos: non repletio vocabitur haec, sed adulterium» (Augustinus, Contra Faustum 15, 1; PL 42: 301).

39Razón, v. 204-215.

40  Libro de Alexandre, s. 48.

41 Poema de Fernán González, s. 272. According to Franchini, 1993, p. 207, Razón de Amor uses the term «razó» in the sense of «poem» (s. 2, 3, 260), «dispute» (s. 207, 230) or «temperance» (Ibid., p. 65).

42  Muñoz, 2003, p. 72.

43  «Ipsa enim cognitio, qua intelligitur in nobis aliud esse quod ratione dominetur, aliud quod rationi obtemperet; ipsa ergo cognitio veluti effectio mulieris est de costa viri, propter conjunctionem significandam. Deinde, ut quisque huic suae parti recte dominetur, et fiat quasi conjugalis in seipso, ut caro non concupiscat adversus spiritum, sed spiritui subjugetur, id est concupiscentia carnalis non adversetur rationi, sed potius obtemperando desinat esse carnalis, opus habet perfecta sapientia»(Augustinus, De Genesi adversus Manicheos 2, 12, 16; PL 34: 205).

44  «Neminem spontaneam mortem sibi inferre debere» (Id., Civitas Dei 1, 26; PL 41: 39).

45  Razón, v. 216-222.

46  Razón, v. 238-241.

47  There is an important example narrated by Strabo which refers to Calcante, a man who died of laughter at the prophecy that foretold that he would not be able to drink his own wine (Strabon,Géographie, VI, 3, 9). Another tradition has it that the Greek stoic philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter after giving his donkey wine and seeing it attempt to feed on figs (Diogenes Laertius, 7, 185).

48  «Exspectans exspectavi Dominum, et intendit mihi. Et exaudivit preces meas, et eduxit me de lacu miseriæ et de luto fæcis. Et statuit super petram pedes meos, et direxit gressus meos» (Psalmi, 39: 2).

49  «Contigit enim eis illud veri proverbii: Canis reversus ad suum vomitum: et, Sus lota in volutabro luti» (2 Petrus, 2: 22). See also Psalmi, 68: 3: «I am fixed into the deep mire where there is no solid ground» («Infixus sum in limo profundi et non est substantia»)

50  Augustinus, De Genesi 12, 34, 67; PL 34: 483.

51  «Nisi forte quis dicat more spongiarum uel huiusce modi rerum mundare daemones amicos suos, ut tanto ipsi sordidiores fiant, quanto fiunt homines eis uelut tergentibus mundiores. Quod si ita est, contaminatioribus dii miscentur daemonibus, qui, ne contaminarentur, hominum propinquitatem contrectationemque uitarunt»(Id., De Civitate 9, 16; PL 41: 271).

52  Razón, v. 246-251.

53  «Mucho fas el dinero, et mucho es de amar,/ al torpe fase bueno, et omen de prestar,/ fase correr al cojo, et al mudo fabrar»(Ruiz, Libro de Buen Amor, s. 490).

54  «Nummus aegros sanat, secat, urit, et aspera planat,/ vile facit carum, predulceque reddit amarum,/ et facit audire surdos, claudosque salire» (Carmina Burana, 73a, v. 25-27).

55  Little and Rosenwein, 2003, p. 517.

56  Burke, 1998, p. 154.

57  Ambrosius, De Sacramentis 4, 4, 19-20; PL 16: 443A.

58  «Admonitos autem nos scias, inquit, ut in calice offerendo dominica tradition servetur, eque aliud fiat a nobis, quam pro nobis Dominus prior fecit: ut calyx, qui in commemoratione, eius offertur, vino mixtus offeratur. Nam quum dicat Christus: Ego sum vitis vera, sanguis Christi non aqua est utique, sed vinum» (Augustinus, De doctrina Christiana 4, 21; PL 107: 320C).

59  «Eguals coses son propinqüitat e llunyedat entre lamic e lamat; cor enaixí com mesclament daigua e de vi, se mesclen les amors de lamic e lamat; enaixí con calor e llugor, sencadenen llurs amors; e enaixí com essència e ésser, se convenen e sacosten» (Llull, Larbre de Philosophie dAmour, p. 19).

60  Razón, v. 252-259.

61  «Latuit Divinitas in carne, remissio peccatorum in baptismo; sed Divinitas erat in carne secundum veritatem: ergo et remissio peccatorum in baptismo. Sed illa est per gratiam: ergo gratia est in baptismo» (Bonaventura, Comentaria, p. 131).

62  «Vis nosse quia ipse baptizat, non solum spiritu, sed etiam aqua? Audi Apostolum: Sicut Christus, inquit, dilexit Ecclesiam, et seipsum tradidit pro ea, mundans eam lavacro aquae in verbo, ut exhiberet ipse sibi gloriosam Ecclesiam, non habentem maculam aut rugam, aut aliquid huiusmodi. Mundans eam. Unde? Lavacro aquae in verbo. Quid est baptismus Christi? Lavacrum aquae in verbo. Tolle aquam, non est baptismus: tolle verbum, non est baptismus» (Augustinus, In Ioannis Evangelium Tractatus 124, 15; PL 35: 1511). Both Tertullianus, De baptism 1, and Augustinus, Adversus Haereses 46, 59, mention heretics who reject water as an element of baptism.

63  Martin, 2003, p. 24.

64  Veas Arteseros, 2005, p. 198.

65  «Baptizare id vocant, ut vinum sit christianum. Ea erat meo tempore elegantia philosophica […] Illi baptizant vinum et se ipsos exbaptizant» (Llull, Larbre de Philosophie dAmour, p. 17).

66  Stallybrass and White, 1986, p. 285.

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Adriano Duque, « Baptizing Wine », Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, 43-2 | 2013, 239-259.

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Adriano Duque, « Baptizing Wine », Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez [En ligne], 43-2 | 2013, mis en ligne le 15 novembre 2015, consulté le 27 juillet 2017. URL : http://mcv.revues.org/5311

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Adriano Duque

Villanova University

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