Refutations of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross

Dear Readers,

Last week I stumbled across the book “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” on Amazon (published originally in 1970). While the claims the work makes seem to be rather insane, I was surprised to find that there was little to no literature or refutation of this work by anyone after searching the web. I have found a wealth of information in terms of the author’s (John Allegro) life, his work on the Dead Scrolls, and such but nothing within the Catholic community that refuted or even discussed the error behind this work (that is the error in terms of interpretation and where John Allegro was going wrong). All I know is that the work was denounced by fourteen scholars (including his mentor) and that the publisher apologized for the work. I can’t seem to find any refutation of it though. And now in this millennium, we have works coming out in seeming support of this theory, resurrecting it (See Jan Irvin, Andrew Rutajit, and etc).

So, in short, does anyone know of a good apologetic refutation of this work?

I don’t but just from the name it sounds screwy

Why give credence, or even attention, to an “inane” work by justifying it with a “refutation”.

Because of Allegro’s work as a scholar, and his knowledge of sumerian language, I am surprised no one within the Church said anything (*that is any priest, catholic writer, etc). It seems these days when any controversial work is published that there is a commonly something said by some Catholic on an apologetic level (for example Da Vinci Code, The God Delusion, etc):shrug:

The only thing I was able to find was this post in a newspaper (The Catholic Herald) by a religious that seemed to advocate the work. So not much help there. But you can get an idea of the scholarly level of the work.

Is this book like The Secret Life of Plants?

It doesn’t seem so. It’s more in the field of scriptural interpretation, fertility cults, and sumerian roots in greek and hebrew.:bible1:


It’s a book for gnostics, published by a gnostic publishing company and most likely its audience is comprised primarily of people interested in gnosticism, New Age, secret conspiracy theories, and that kind of stuff. It’s not a scholarly tome on par with something published by, say, a major university press by a religion professor.

It might be useful for propping up the leg of your sofa.

The original work was published under Double Day and by a company in london before that. Because it went out of print, a gnostic publishing company sought to bring it back. So it is not necessarily some pile-on source from this gnostic company.

sofa prop. LOL:D

Dom Sylvester Houedard’s scholarly 1970 review of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross is brutal. BRUTAL! Houedard suggested 'Shroom would sell well to the non-scholastic trade if put into paperback. In this, Houedard prophesied the highly lucrative and decades-long Gnostic punking of Jesus Christ and Christianity as tracked by NY TIMES best sellers. Cash cows include: Last Temptation of Married Jesus; Gnostic Gospel Jesus; Channeled Jesus; Jesus Seminar Jesus; and Again with the Married Jesus of Leonardo. “Symbologist.” Hehe…Shades of Saint John Bosco’s vision of the Barque of Peter attacked by shot, shell and books.

Houedard’s mention of Fr. Carmignac is central to his criticism of 'Shroom Jesus. Carmignac set out to reverse engineer the New Testament, translating the Aramaic/Greek into Old Hebrew. The text eased flawlessly into Old Hebrew and blossomed into added delights, yielding text-enriching, not text-contradicting, puns. Suggesting that etymologic symbologist John M. Allegro’s proposed biblical 'shroom puns are at odds with the work of Carmignac and others is brutal. BRUTAL! And utterly witty. Thanks for this gem.:clapping:

I am confused. :confused: what does carmigac have to do with this? and what are you applauding? and brutal? in what sense? as an attack or a campaign for the work?

I am confused. what does carmigac have to do with this? and what are you applauding? and brutal? in what sense? as an attack or a campaign for the work?

An apologetic answer may be too difficult [for the USofA]. Foods are good. All seek them in different forms.

I had an original copy of his “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross”. Lent it to a non-Catholic friend of the Zoroastrian persuasion (South Asian, Iraqi borne) and as many of the books that I have received or returned; it has been disappeared.

If I remember correctly the entire focus of his proof was his interpretation of Sumerian root words. At that time (late 60’s); let us not forget the popularization of hallucinogens.

Allegro was one of the original Catholic scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He got a little too wrecked (IMO). Nevertheless, we must not impute our own perceptions, of this time, to the gifts of God that make us human; Whether it be air, water, food, carbon dioxide, ergot, alcohol, opium, coca, caffeine, cannabis, nicotine, ˈpsilocin, mescaline, etc. They are ours to use and abuse. :frighten:

I think Allegro screwed up: he was honest but wrong.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

Your response was surprising. I’m familiar with the CCC.

Next time you go to Quito, do not drink the tea.


I was confused as it seemed you were advocating the usage of such drugs for recreational use. I apologize if I jumped the gun.

Not to worry. Others must have read that book.

After all these years, the whole examination of what was true and just not what was reported in the “media” would be an interesting story.


Director of “Springtime for Hitler”
DE BRIS: “No be cruel. Be brutal. Be brutal. Because heaven knows they will.”
That kind of brutal. Brutal as in saying 'Shroom should sell well to the illiterati. Brutal as in saying about half of Allegro’s Sumerian was imagined. Brutal as in saying the ‘shroom puns didn’t show up in two separate scholars’ back-engineered translations to the Old Hebrew but other puns consonant with the text did. :wink:

I’m kind of confused. If fourteen scholars, including his mentor, said that the work was bogus, why does it need to be refuted necessarily?

Refutation is only necessary if there’s something convincing about the work. What do you find convincing? Whom do you know who finds it convincing? Then we can go from there.

Or are these other more recent authors more credible? Then why not focus on them?


The theory in general seems plausible and the more recent works (Jan Irvin etc) seem to hold a defensible theory. Having seen some of the theory behind the work, Allegro’s contributions as a scholar (the ones recognized by the academic community), I just think it’s surprising that no one wrote a decent refutation.

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