Milk vs. Wine

Saint Gregory of Nyssa: First Homily on the Song of Songs


Your breasts are better than wine, and the scent of your perfumes is beyond all ointments. [SoS 1:1–2]

Marc Chagall: Canticle 2
Marc Chagall: Canticle 2
What is signified by these words is, in our opinion, neither trivial nor unimportant. Through the comparison of milk from the divine breasts with the enjoyment obtained from wine we learn, I think, that all human wisdom, science, power of observation and comprehension of imagination cannot match the simple nourishment of the divine teaching. Milk, the food of infants, comes from the breasts. On the other hand, wine, with its strength and warming capacity, is enjoyment for the perfect [mature]. However, the perfection of the wisdom of the world is less than the childlike teaching of the divine world. Hence the divine breasts are better than human wine, and the scent of divine perfumes is lovelier than any fragrance.


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