Jesus Christ was a Magic Mushroom

Jesus magic mushroom

There are a huge number of theories about the real Jesus and how his earliest believers really viewed him. Maybe as a God. Or just human. Possibly a mixture of the two. But how about the theory that Jesus was a magic mushroom? Restrain your laughter! Because in the 1960s – that freethinking decade – respected archaeologist and excavator of the Dead Sea Scrolls, John Allegro (1922-1988), came to that conclusion in his controversial book: The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross.

For shocking the academic world, he was referred to as “the Liberace of biblical scholarship”. Allegro was even accused of formulating his thesis while under the influence of the aforementioned mushrooms – which the teetotal Allegro angrily denied.

This theory, he argued, was no more ridiculous than the subsequent Christian claim of eating their Messiah’s body and blood. And anyway, that cannibalistic sacrament was an invented ritual to disguise the truth.

That what had really been ingested by early adherents of the Christ cult was a hallucinogenic drug. These fanatics believed in a walking mushroom. A plant that once nibbled on would transport the believer to another realm. And the Christians were just one of several ancient phallic, drug-taking mystery cults that Allegro thought most of us would have found repellent.

The proof is in the Dead Sea Scrolls

The proof for all this lay in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which Allegro helped to discover and translate. The first of these incredible documents was chanced upon in caves by Bedouin shepherds in the 1940s. They were written by a secretive group of Jewish ascetics, the Essenes, who established a community in the desert over two thousand years ago. The scrolls allegedly gave clues to the origins of both Judaism and Christianity.

And the Vatican amongst other didn’t want anybody to know that.

There was some disquiet that for many years, that the man in charge of the Dead Sea Scrolls project was a Dominican friar, Father Roland de Vaux. Through the 1950s and 1960s, he was reticent to let scholars view the scrolls in their entirety and dragged his feet on publishing details. Allegro was a dissenting member of the team and a man who no longer believed in mainstream Christianity. The conclusions he drew from the Dead Sea Scrolls were a world away from those of Father De Vaux.

The Essenes and the magic mushroom Jesus

To say Allegro’s claim caused a storm would be something of an understatement. As a result of publishing this work, Allegro was denounced and forced to relinquish his university teaching post. But in recent years, Allegro’s assertion that the Jesus story originated in a drugs-based shamanistic story has been reappraised. Though not necessarily accepted.

The fact that Allegro went out on a limb to assert that Jesus was a magic mushroom came as a surprise – an unpleasant surprise. He was an award winning biblical scholar, fluent in Hebrew, historical advisor to the Jordanian government, and a diligent archaeologist.

Allegro was a high-profile member of the team excavating and decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls in what was then part of Jordan. These were two thousand year old writings by a desert-based sect called the Essenes who lived at a place called Qumran with its many caves. Their views and practices, as revealed in the scrolls, threw into question all our assumptions about early Christianity – assuming some of the Essenes could be seen as proto-Christians.

One of the scrolls, discovered in the years following the Second World War, was made from copper and it’s been speculated that this particular scroll detailed the whereabouts of treasure from the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans after the First Jewish Revolt. Though that has never been proven.

The Essenes fascinated Allegro. He believed that Christianity emerged among these people who had deliberately excluded themselves from mainstream society. Jesus was not viewed by the Essenes as a historical figure but a mythical Teacher of Righteousness.

So how did Allegro turn Jesus into a magic mushroom?

Jesus was a magic mushroom

Jesus, according to Allegro, was a magic mushroom. Specifically the poisonous Amanita Mascaria. This was the Old Testament’s “tree of knowledge” and a fertility symbol for followers of the God, Yahweh. He nourished with his divine sperm from above.

The gospels came after the destruction of the Temple and were a hoax. These writings were intended to confuse the Roman authorities while sending coded messages to the faithful. The names of Jesus and his apostles, as well as the Lord’s prayer and the Sermon on the Mount, contained references to mushrooms. It didn’t fool the Romans apparently who regarded the Christians as a degraded group of people, hence their severe treatment of the growing sect.

I have a copy of Allegro’s book and it’s incredibly detailed to the point of tedious in its explanation of how words in the bible can be translated into mushroom-related concepts. Nobody can accuse Allegro of not being thorough.

After the Jewish Revolt, the emerging leadership of what would become the Christian church purged its ranks of the drug takers and expelled them into the desert. This would begin a process of growing respectability that would end with the religion of Jesus becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. By that time, the mushrooms had been swept under the theological carpet.

The Allegro view of Jesus could be said to fit under the “mythicist” umbrella – those who believe that there was no historical Jesus and that he was a mythological construct. This is an entirely respectable view even if it bugs the “historicists”, who believe Jesus was a real person, though maybe not a God. And then the evangelicals who believe every word of the bible as written.

FIND OUT MORE: Was Jesus Christ a terrorist?

This is a YouTube channel, MythVisions, which I enjoy greatly and three years ago its owner Derek Lambert did a lively summary of Allegro’s mushroom theory. As he points out, it’s conceivable that early Christians, whoever they really were, believed that hallucinogenics were a direct path to communing with the Almighty.

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