The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the ancient Near East. John M. ALLEGRO.

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the ancient Near East.

Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970. First US Edition. Hardcover. Large octavo. xxii + 350pp. Black cloth lettered in gilt on spine. Colour frontispiece, and one colour plate. B&w diagrams. Indexes include: General, Word, Acadian, Syriac, Arabic/Persian, and Greek. The stated first edition of John M. Allegro's famous - if controversial - study, linking the foundations of religions with the visions caused by hallucinogens. From the publisher: "Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the fresco of the Plaincourault Chapel to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist. Allegro argued that Jesus never existed and was a mythological creation of early Christians under the influence of psychoactive mushroom extracts such as psilocybin." Spine canted, and with some light creasing, cloth rubbed at points. Top edge dusty and fore-edge foxed. Pale foxing to frontispiece, plate, first few leaves, and a couple of margins. There is also a light, semi-circular mark on the blank reverse of the frontispiece (looks a bit like a scuff - might have been a printing flaw). Overall a tight, obviously read, but about VG copy in VG+ dust jacket. (Dust jacket is a bit rubbed with some light chafing and tiny chips to edges, a little darkened at folds. Price-clipped. Now protected by removable mylar sleeve). Item #67846

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