Moses Got High on Mt. Sinai, Study Says

Mind-altering drugs may have sparked religious visions
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2008 7:08 PM CST
Moses Got High on Mt. Sinai, Study Says
Picture taken in February 1999 of a healer (L) starting an Ayahuasca ceremony by offering -what they call- the medicinal plant to a person taking part of the ritual in Tarapoto, northeastern jungle of Peru. Benny Shannon thinks that Moses and the Israelites used a brew similar to ayahuasca in their...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Moses was high on mind-altering drugs when he heard God’s word on Mount Sinai, an Israeli researcher said this week. He contends that hallucinogenics were key to Jewish ceremonies and explain Moses' reception of the Ten Commandments and his vision of the burning bush. Benny Shanon, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, admits he's dabbled in such drugs himself.

"As far 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," Shannon said. He notes that Israelites got high by brewing the bark of the acacia tree, frequently mentioned in the Bible, AFP reports. (Read more Moses stories.)

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