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The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity: A critical re-evaluation of the schism between John M. Allegro and R. Gordon Wasson ... in The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross Paperback – September 30, 2009


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The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity: A critical re-evaluation of the schism between John M. Allegro and R. Gordon Wasson ... in The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross + The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East + The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Gnostic Media Research & Publishing (September 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982556209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982556207
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Christianity and the Piltdown Hoax (one of the largest academic scandals in history) share many similarities: In both stories the information was constructed and then salted into the information stream, and, through the word of noted scholars, presented as fact, the truth. Scholars have egos and once committed to their ideas through scholarly publications, faculty meetings, and conferences, have difficulty seeing, hearing, or even appreciating an adverse view. To waver from a strongly held opinion could spell academic ruin and withdrawal of acclaim. This leads to lively debate,counter stories, and even character assassination if one side or the other is being out trumped in the symbolic mêlée. Jan Irvin (The Holy Mushroom) has captured what we might call an anthropology of clarification regarding whether or not mushrooms, and mind-altering substances in general, played any role in the development of not only Judaism and Christianity but the total culture in play at that time. It is now recognized in many academic communities (anthropologists,sociologists, psychiatrists, psychologists) that sufficient evidence exists of the importance of these substances, both textual and visual, to say yes in very large letters. It is no longer theory. The questions Irvin asks is this: If mind-altering substances did play this major role, then how would this affect our interpretations of the Bible and the Quran? Would this shed light on the origins of mystical experiences and the stories, for example Abraham hearing voices and Ezekiels convenient visions? What would this suggest about the shamanic behavior of Jesus? What impact would this have on organized religion? These are bold questions. This is a very useful volume for those interested in the Holy Mushroom and the politics of truth. Detailed and wonderfully illustrated; great bibliography.
~ Professor John A. Rush, Sierra College

John Allegro's revelation of the sacramental role of a sacred mushroom in the ancient religions spanning the agrarian region from Mesopotamia to the Near East was immediately and unfairly rejected by a chorus of scholars less competent than him, but continuing research into early Christianity and the mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world and their perpetuation in alchemy and European folkloric traditions has vindicated the correctness of his discovery.
~ Professor Carl A. P. Ruck, Boston University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Jan Irvin has produced a most thoughtful and valuable account of debate around the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in early Christianity. Irvin's careful account of the main protagonists, their sources and intellectual motivations shows the importance of continuing research on this significant moment in early Christian thought, as well as how academic research itself is affected by the cultural attitudes of the day. In adducing new textual evidence and showing the iconographic prevalence of the mushroom motif Jan Irvin is to be warmly congratulated - all serious scholarship for the future will have to take account of his achievement."

John Allegro's revelation of the sacramental role of a sacred mushroom in the ancient religions spanning the agrarian region from Mesopotamia to the Near East was immediately and unfairly rejected by a chorus of scholars less competent than him, but continuing research into early Christianity and the mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world and their perpetuation in alchemy and European folkloric traditions has vindicated the correctness of his discovery.

John Allegro's revelation of the sacramental role of a sacred mushroom in the ancient religions spanning the agrarian region from Mesopotamia to the Near East was immediately and unfairly rejected by a chorus of scholars less competent than him, but continuing research into early Christianity and the mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world and their perpetuation in alchemy and European folkloric traditions has vindicated the correctness of his discovery. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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It is an essential addition to your library~!
Mark
This book is very informational and eye opening to some things that you may or may not have know about Jeudo-Christianity & Psychedelics.
Markus Tyler Bays
To fully appreciate this work you have to be familiar with the John Allegro controversy.
Michal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By MatthewN on January 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
In re-examining the rift between the late Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro and late amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, "The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity" author Jan Irvin seeks not only to re-open a scholarly dialogue concerning the use of entheogens in Judeo-Christianity, but also to prove that entheogenic mushroom usage had been an integral part of these Abrahamic religions up to and possibly through the middle ages.

The study first starts off with an analysis of the missives between Wasson and Allegro pertaining to the Plaincourault fresco and Allegro's theory, as presented in his "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross", that the fresco is but one piece of evidence highlighting the connection between Christianity and the holy mushroom. This thesis was in contrast to Wasson's own, which was that mushroom usage was indeed a part of Judeo-Christianity but did not extend anywhere past circa 1000 BCE, and that the Plaincourault fresco was merely a "stylized Palestinian tree".

Specific emphasis has been placed on the entheobotanical citations that Allegro used throughout "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross" in order to detail what errors were actually his and which were those of the authors whom he referenced. As Allegro took the brunt of the blame for the incorrect information contained within the citations of, but not limited to, the chemical constituency of the amanita muscaria (fly-agaric) mushroom, this portion of the book is of particular importance in attempting to comprehend the larger concept that Allegro was presenting.

Included within the text are various color examples of Christian artwork depicting mushrooms in various motifs from the Bible.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hoffman on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Every entheogen historian needs to read this book, to see how the field has been distorted and prematurely limited by too much uncritical respect for Wasson. The strange case of Wasson and Allegro is inherently interesting, and I expect the casual reader of entheogen history to find this investigation and correction every bit as interesting as I did ever since I began investigating and unravelling what exactly Wasson wrote.

Why should anyone care about some esoteric nitpicks about what Allegro and Wasson wrote? This is the most interesting subject, because the history of this scholarship shows how entheogen scholarship has gone dreadfully wrong in the past, and how we need to fact-check every statement and assumption by even the most renowned scholars such as Wasson, and Allegro, and I now add T. McKenna.

The most important subject in the world is the question of to what extent were visionary plants used throughout Christian history. This book provides the right kind of evidence and argumentation to reverse the refusal to countenance that question, a refusal for which the exagerratedly venerated hero Wasson is largely to blame. There is a great abundance of evidence in support of the maximal entheogen theory of Christian history, which can be readily seen if one ignores Wasson's efforts to stymie the investigation. Examining the entire issue of use of all visionary plants in all religions in all eras, including all forms of evidence, it is now a certainty that Christianity has centrally incorporated visionary plants all throughout Christian history -- the question is no longer "did Christians use entheogens?"; the question has become "to what extent did Christians use entheogens?"

Irvin and I worked up many of these ideas together.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TJ Stevens on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have followed (or heard a little about) the controversy surrounding John Marco Allegro then this book "The Holy Mushroom" is a good book to read. It recounts events and reprints articles and letters to newspapers which were printed in the years following the publishing of John M Allegro's book The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East
"The Holy Mushroom" is not a religious apologist view, and helpful in helping Allegro get back some respect for what evidently was a very brave piece of work, but which did not go down well with Christianity.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dj trailer on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i enjoyed this book , although it wasn't what i expected. I was expecting a little bit more about the actual mushrooms and Christianity itself, not just the argument between Allegro and Wasson. I would also recommend buying the colored edition, i bought the black and white copy hoping to save money but it wasn't worth it, you can hardly see the details of the images , there's a section of the book that has numerous pictures of mosaics, frescoes, and paintings showing mushrooms in churches. I also would recommend reading Allegro's book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross before reading this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark Stahlman on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Irvin has done a service by carefully dissecting the controversy over the use of mushroom-based entheogens in early Christianity. Contrary to what some have said, entheogens have played an important role in all of the world's religions, including Christianity.

Naturally, the actual history of the use of entheogens is a secret one. As a result, there is much scholarship that needs to be updated as the details of this occulted narrative increasingly become public.
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