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.