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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross:
A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity
within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East.

Allegro, John M. (1970).
Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.

ISBN: None

Description: Second printing, xxii + 349 pages.

Notes: "In a book called The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, the Biblical scholar John Allegro broadens these speculations even further by the use of etymological arguments to propose that Christianity originated as a hoax in which the rabbi Jesus was invested with the powers and names of the fly agaric, the true body of Christ. In effect, according the Allegro, Christianity was the exoteric disguise of a secret mushroom cult whose original content was eventually forgotten. His arguments are not considered plausible by either religious or secular Biblical scholars, but we mention them here for their interest and boldness." (Grinspoon & Bakalar, Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, pages 40-41)

See John Jacques' entry for a critique of Allegro's work.

Contents: Author's note, acknowledgements, introduction, 29 chapters, general index, Biblical index, word index-Sumarian, Accadian, Ugaritic, Semitic, Sanskrit, Hebrew/Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic/Persian, Greek, Latin.

Excerpt(s): Our present concern is to show that Judaism and Christianity are such cultic expressions of this endless pursuit by man to discover instant power and knowledge. ...

For the way to God and the fleeting view of heaven was through plants more plentifully endued with the sperm of God than any other. These were the drug-herbs, the science of whose cultivation and use had been accumulated over centuries of observation and dangerous experiment. ...

Vary rarely, and then only for urgent practical purposes, were those secrets ever committed to writing. Normally they would be passed from the priest to the initiate by word of mouth ... But if, for some drastic reason like the disruption of their cultic centres by war or persecution, it became necessary to write down the precious names of the herbs and the manner of their use and accompanying incantations, it would be in some esoteric form comprehensible to those within their dispersed comm unities.

Such an occasion, we believe, was the Jewish Revolt of AD 66. ... Judaism was disrupted ... The secrets, if they were not to be lost forever, had to be committed to writing ...

The means of conveying the information were at hand, and had been for thousands of years. The folk-tales of the ancients had from the earliest times contained myths based upon the personification of plants and trees. They were invested with human faculties and qualities and their names and physical characteristics were applied to the heros and heroines of the stories. ... Here, then was the literary device to spread occult knowledge to the faithful. To tell the story of a rabbi called Jesus, and invest him with the power and names of the magic drug. To have him live before the terrible events that had disrupted their lives, to preach a love between men, extending even to the hated Romans. Thus, reading such a tale, should it fall into Roman hands, even their mortal enemies might be deceived and not probe further into the activities of the cells of the mystery cults with their territories. (pages xii-xiv)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

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