Saturday, 14 April 2012

Junky Moses Hallucinated the Burning Bush

Not my suggestion - that of Professor Benny Shanon, reported in the Daily Mail <- Caution - contains link to Daily Mail. Apologies that this is a 2008 article, but news travels slowly round here and I've only just seen the link.

Apparently the vision of the Burning Bush was a result of consuming a hallucinogen from the acacia tree. Likewise the reception of the 10 Commandments.

Let's not be silly, now. If Moses were stoned when he received the 10 Commandments, they'd have been stuff like:

I. Tune in
II. Turn on
III. Drop Out
IV. Take a chill pill, O Great Divine Being. Enough with the smiting, already.
V. Respect, Daddio
VI. Stop being so heavy.
VII. Stop being so heavy.
VIII. Thou shalt eat chocolate brownies on 6 days of the week. And the seventh shalt thou have the urge to eat cookies.
IX. Go with the flow.
X. Did I mention the brownies?
XI. If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
XII. Ringo? Ringo? How many commandments did you say we need?

Didn't happen, did it? Instead Moses produced 10 perfectly sensible commandments. And, of course, a load of other commandments that he couldn't fit on the tablets so he had to fill in later - stuff about mildew and donkeys and land rights.

See, if Prof Shannon's theories are right (and I've no reason to believe they're not - except they're clearly tripe and there's no evidence and he's a self-confessed taker of hallucinogenic substances) then it begs a question. Several, actually, but let's stick with this one. If he's right, then clearly the Exodus story must have pretty much happened as recorded. In which case how come the Plagues? Or does Prof Shannon reckon Moses got hallucinogen into the Nile water supply? I've got visions (strictly on coffee, not acacia) of Moses and Aaron, up above the First Cataract, pouring industrial quantities of acacia extract into the water like some giant 60s LSD love 'n" peace conspiracy.

In which case the Plagues are all hallucinations as well. Visions of frogs, locusts and blood-filled rivers make perfect sense. As does Pharaoh's abrupt change of heart when, waking up the day after Passover, he discovers his firstborn alive and well, and not transformed into a giant spider as he's previously imagined.
In which case the passage across the Reed Sea was just a stroll along the higher ground through the marshes, while the death of Pharaoh's army is due to them becoming convinced they can sea water-nymphs in the depths, and going in for a chat.

Oh yeah, it all makes sense now. The way they think God's sending them manna, when in fact they've wisely packed a forty year supply of Snickers. The odd belief that flocks of quail randomly appear in the night. The mass-hallucination when the Rock gives forth water - and thus the Children of Israel don't die of thirst. And the belief of the Spies that there are giants in the land of Canaan (Joshua and Caleb were fortunate at that precise point in having come down, so they could see the facts of the matter).

And it's no wonder it took 40 years to wander across the desert, is it? Every time they set off, Moses would want to bend over and look at the "amazing way, like, sand - it just runneth through thy hands, son of man!" And again, faced with a bunch of tripping desert warriors, it's unsurprising the Canaanites held out so well. Indeed, there's now an argument that what happened at Jericho was that Rahab invited the lads round for an Acacia session, and everybody just thought the walls had fallen down.

Just being sensible for a moment. It strikes me there are four possible explanations for the Exodus stories:

1) it actually happened, and the miracles were direct contraventions or suspensions of the normal physical laws.
2) It actually happened, and the miracles were remarkable timing events. And maybe the stuff about Moses" childhood and the sorcerers' staves changing into serpents was a bit of embellishment.
3) It sort of happened, and a group of Canaanite tribes, coalescing around a conglomerate belief in a god/gods called "El" and YHWH, took the Egyptian enslavement and desert escapes as a normative origin myth.
4) It was all made up., but used as a national origin myth because - once again - it was handy in welding a group of tribes into a religiously-coherent nation.

I'll leave it to you which you want to go with. But I"m just gonna say, it's not gonna be the drugs one.


  1. I'd plump for 1).

    Your alternative Commandments are a real gas, man!

  2. Woah! Heavy stuff, dude.

    Dude? Dudette. Dudess.

  3. Didn't the plagues happen when Moses had a bad trip? It was all in his head, man.

  4. Does the acacia juice work stuff when mixed with meths?

  5. By the way, which 3 of the 4 explanations offered are the only possible ones?

  6. It's that damned acacia juice - makes me picky (or is it Pikey?).

  7. Left-footer, I think you're right. Though I think 3's not bad as an alternative.

  8. Chairman Bill, I've no idea what you're referring to. Have you been imagining typos? I'd lay off the acacia juice if I were you.

  9. You minx - you definitely said there were only 3 possible explanations, and then posited 4.


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