Wednesday, March 12, 2008


When Moses climbed up Mount Sinai and received the 10 Commandments from God, was he high on some kind of ancient Hebrew whacky tobaccy?

Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, thinks that he was, since mind-altering drugs were an integral part of religious rites of the Israeli people during biblical times, reports Agence France Presse.

"As far as Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio.

Shanon further believes that Moses was likely on drugs when he saw the "burning bush."

Professor Shanon visited the Amazon forest in 1991 and, during a religious ceremony, used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon recalled, noting that the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca are similar to those produced by potions made from the bark of the acacia tree, which is frequently mentioned in the Bible. Critics have noted that Shanon at one point professed to be an atheist, but his experiences in the Amazon with ritual drug use have convinced him that there is in fact something more to human existence than what normally meets the eye.


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