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Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis

Time and Mind JournalA lot of noise on the internet today around a recently published article in a new journal called Time and Mind by cognitive psychology professor Benny Shanon on the subject of Moses and Entheogens.

Abstract:
A speculative hypothesis is presented according to which the ancient Israelite religion was associated with the use of entheogens (mind-altering plants used in sacramental contexts). The hypothesis is based on a new look at texts of the Old Testament pertaining to the life of Moses. The ideas entertained here were primarily based on the fact that in the arid areas of the Sinai peninsula and Southern Israel there grow two plants containing the same psychoactive molecules found in the plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew Ayahuasca is prepared. The two plants are species of Acacia tree and the bush Peganum harmala. The hypothesis is corroborated by comparative experiential-phenomenological observations, linguistic considerations, exegesis of old Jewish texts and other ancient Mideastern traditions, anthropological lore, and ethnobotanical data.

The entire 25 page article can be downloaded for free from here (scroll down to bottom of page, if the pdf link stops working let me know in the comments, I have a copy.)

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google trends 030508 peyote ayahuasca magic mushrooms

Utah High Court OKs Non-Indian Peyote Use
New York Newsday – Jun 23 2004
American Indian church leader sues Utah officials over 2000 peyote raid
KATC – Apr 28 2005
‘Medicine man’ arrested on peyote charges
Centre Daily Times – Jun 24 2005
Study: Religious peyote use not harmful to American Indians
KESQ – Nov 4 2005
Charges dropped vs. couple in peyote case
Macon Telegraph – Feb 23 2006
Netherlands bans magic mushrooms
TREND Information – Oct 12 2007

See Also:
This is an article in two parts. The first part discusses current research in psychoactive preparations of ergot in various religious systems with a particular emphasis on Persian, Greek, Jewish and Islamic sources.
Incense is psychoactive: Scientists identify the biology behind the ceremony.

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