Man, in his natural state, is a rational animal, Aristotle contends. Indeed, irrational callings may occur, which may become problematic at a social scale. This has led to the elaboration of guiding organizational principles.
From biblical times to the modern era, the process of fermentation applied to foods and beverages (leavened bread, wine, beer) has been linked to fertility and civilization. However, wine’s inebriating effect have also made it appear as the gateway to the Devil. It indeed alternatively represents a boon and a scourge depending on its uses – and abuses. Once its fumes hit the drinker’s brain, his reason is overcome, putting the good order of society as a whole at risk, thereby enhancing the urge to regulate his behaviors.
This paper will present the defense of moderation in both pagan and Christian thought, up to the escalation towards legal enforcement. We will investigate the opposite notions of individual responsibility and social control, in their virtuous or excessive dimensions.
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