Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Was Moses high on Sinai? (JTA)
The biblical Moses may have been "high" at Mount Sinai, an Israeli researcher posited.

Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has argued that the miraculous sights and sounds in the Exodus account of God's giving of the Torah to Moses may have been drug induced.

Shanon, who published his theory in the scholarly journal Time and Mind, said the Mount Sinai spectacle recalled a "trip" he experienced after drinking psychotropic drugs of a kind that can be found in some desert plants.

"I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Ha'aretz quoted Shanon as saying. "It seems logical that something was altered in people's consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden."

But he added, "I have no direct proof of this interpretation."

According to Shanon, the drug theory is more feasible than other explanations for the Mount Sinai story -- that indeed the Israelites communicated with God -- or that it is all just a fairy tale.

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