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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]

J. R. Irvin , Jack Herer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2009
Black & White edition, second printing. 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 are these: "If mind-altering substances did play this major role, then how would this affect our interpretations of the Bible and the Qur'an? Would this shed light on the origins of mystical experiences and the stories, for example Abraham hearing voices and Ezekiel's 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

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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 + Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution
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Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Gnostic Media Research & Publishing (30 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982556209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982556207
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 21 Nov 2009
This is a very important book for our time in regards to the study of the mushroom.
Allegro and Watson. This is a very significant work by Jan Irvin showing the truth about these two men and the works they both achieved in their lives.
Allegro is shown to be a genuine scholar who did the best he could in the time he had in these studies of Christianity and the mushroom, which seems to be the area that Watsson dared not delve into and we see in Jans work documents and personal letters between the two men that bring about an understanding for the reader as to just whaat waas going through the minds of these two men.
Both had aan important role to play in the mushroom information, however there is still debate here as to whether or not one or both men were in error with their works.
This book serves as a detailed discussion about these men.
This book is als filled with fantastic colour artwork of ancient Christian artworks that clearly shows the mushroom in its full glory - the mushroom as the fruit that was forbidden and other portrayals too.
I thoroughly recommend this important work to every serious reader who wishes to gaain an understaandding of the debate about these men.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: "The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity" 4 Jan 2009
By MatthewN - Published on Amazon.com
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. Furthermore, with the inclusion of the Epistle to the Renegade Bishops, Irvin presents direct proof that not only was the mushroom distinctively acknowledged, but that it was subsequently announced throughout all Christendom.

This work would make a fine addition to any library and is, in this reviewer's opinion, a must read for any scholar, theologian, religious historian, or amateur re-searcher.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid scholarship to force assessment of entheogens throughout Christian history 27 Dec 2008
By Michael Hoffman - Published on Amazon.com
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. What a time of revolutionary revision that has been, because what a cesspool of shoddy, flimsy argumentation, a travesty of scholarship, the whole Plaincourault issue has been. Plaincourault served as a proxy issue: Per Wasson's strategy of suppression, if Plaincourault isn't a mushroom, then we must not permit the question of the extent of visionary plant use in Christian history; per Allegro's side (which Allegro didn't take nearly far enough), if Plaincourault is a mushroom, then we must hasten to open that question wide up: just exactly how many Christians have ever used visionary plants as the Eucharist? Quite a few, it is clear from a coherent interpretation of the texts and iconography (there are countless pictures of mushrooms in Christian art, and many yet to be photographed and documented).

My systematic theory, published online and already announced to a wide variety of scholars in email, is that Christianity began not in themes from Egypt as Irvin and Acharya S would have it, but rather, first and foremost, as a counter-propaganda rebuttal to Roman Imperial theology. Roman imperial theology utilized the era's ubiquitous use of visionary plants such as in mystery initiation and symposium "drinking" parties, to prop up and justify Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar's violent, crucifying system of empire.

In rebuttal, Christianity was created and became popular by utilizing anti-Roman, Jewish-styled themes, fabricating a counter-Caesar figure of Jesus. The origin of Christianity has two main parts: the use of visionary plants (which was utterly normal and ubiquitous in late antiquity), utilized for the purpose of not only individual spiritual enlightenment as Irvin would have it, but even more for the purpose of erecting an alternate, egalitarian, social-political support network, using a Jewish-like synagogue network that was separate from the official culture's honor-and-shame hierarchy.

The first centuries of Christians were all about using the plant-induced altered state to support an alternate social-political system, against the Roman Empire's use of visionary plants to prop up Caesar's honor-and-shame hierarchy system. This political motive for visionary plant use, which is my original research published online, is missing from Irvin's work -- he only has the visionary plants themselves, and connections to Egypt instead of the more relevant connections to the overall culture of the Roman Empire such as ruler cult.

I look forward to more books by Jan Irvin, Prof. Rush, and Carl Ruck blowing open the world's most important field of investigation, and the world's most suppressed and oft-evaded question: to what exact extent were visionary plants utilized throughout Christian history? First we need to quit the blinding dogmatic emotional attitude of T. McKenna and other entheogen historians that Christianity was evil and therefore cannot be countenanced to have centrally incorporated entheogens. It doesn't matter how evil Christianity was, the evidence must be permitted to speak for itself, that Christianity has always incorporated visionary plants to a substantial and central extent.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good companion book if you know about John Allegro 2 July 2011
By TJ Stevens - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dry , but good read 13 Jan 2011
By dj trailer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginning to Shed Light on Dark History 29 Dec 2008
By Mark Stahlman - Published on Amazon.com
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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