Regular readers of Cannabis Culture will be familiar with the work of Chris Bennett, whose articles on the history of marijuana in worldwide religious traditions have been featured in these pages. His newest book, Sex, drugs and violence in the Bible, provides an overview of the Old and New Testaments from a perspective of historical and scholarly research, with a focus on the lurid elements in the title.
Bennett and his co-author Neil McQueen don’t have to look far to find the evocative aspects in the title, as they show how the Old Testament is full of deceit, lust, debauchery, drug use and murder. The tales they tell depict a morality quite different than our usual perception of the Biblical patriarchs.
While discussing the New Testament, Bennett also introduces the Gnostic Gospels, books and ideas excised from our modern Bible, but which were written contemporary with or earlier than the traditional gospels. The Gnostic traditions portray a Jesus quite different than the one with which we are familiar.
For those steeped in orthodox Biblical interpretations, Bennett’s claims might seem extraordinary. The use of cannabis is woven throughout Bennett’s exploration of the Bible, but his book also covers other “hidden stories” involving incest, prostitution, murder, homosexuality, drug use, genocide, and other acts typically frowned upon by most modern Bible-backers.
His book includes a pro-snake analysis of the Garden of Eden myth, description of Jehovah as a “phallic god,” and contends that Moses used marijuana for divine insight, that Jesus used cannabis for baptism and healing, and that some early Christians celebrated their faith with ritual orgies, gay sex, plant-drugs and/or consumption of semen and menstrual blood.
While mocking those who take their morality from Biblical stories, Bennett also places acts of child sacrifice, penis worship and bestiality into a cultural and historical context which renders them understandable to the modern reader.
Bennet is also the author of Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion. Although both books cover some of the same ground, Sex, drugs and violence in the Bible has a different focus, and is more accessible and easy to read. The book is a fascinating and revelatory volume and is recommended to anyone interested in the history of marijuana, and the strange origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
? Sex, drugs and violence in the Bible is available by mail-order from Forbidden Fruit Publishing. $25US / $35CND (add $5 for shipping).
? Make your check or Money Order out to Chris Bennet, and send to: Forbidden Fruit Publishing, Box 485, Gibsons, BC, Canada, V0N 1V0; tel (604) 885-8261; email [email protected]
? CC articles by Chris Bennett: www.cannabisculture.com/search/dbsearch.pl?q= bennet bible&keywordText=