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The Mushroom in Christian Art: The Identity of Jesus in the Development of Christianity Paperback – Jan 11 2011

2 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; Pap/DVD edition (Jan. 11 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556439601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556439605
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #764,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A picture is worth a thousand words. In this enlightening book, and on the well-illustrated DVD, John Rush identifies the real Jesus and argues convincingly for the prevalence of the historical, religious use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Christianity.”
—Jan Irvin, author of The Holy Mushroom.
“Going beyond the identification of putative fungal shapes in the religious art of Europe, John Rush has provided an eloquent and sophisticated context for their significance, a kind of grammar of symbolic forms, lavishly illustrated, opening up an essential topic of dialogue for anyone interested in understanding the creative imagination of this vast and intriguing period of history.”
—Carl Ruck, professor of Classics at Boston University and author of Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis

The Mushroom in Christian Art is a valuable addition to the growing corpus on the question of whether hallucinogens played a central role in Christianity and, as such, is well worth the read.”
The Psychedelic Press UK

About the Author

John A. Rush, PhD, ND, is a professor of anthropology at Sierra College in Rocklin, California. His research has ranged from religious symbolism in Europe to monuments and Mayan astronomy in Central America. He is also the author of Failed God, Spiritual Tattoo, and The Twelve Gates.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book, but clearly the author 'sees' mushrooms everywhere, and sometimes in unusual locations: kind of like seeing faces in the clouds.
Some of the images are a real stretch.
To suggest that all instances of divine revelation in christianity are fungal in origin is an overstatement.
Notably, many saints who experienced visions of, and meetings with divine agents (such as Julian of Norwich, the genius Hildegard of Bingen (that is mentioned in the book), Bernadette of Lourdes, Joan of Arc) likely suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy (although O. Sacks suggested that Hildegard of Bingen suffered from migraine, I think this is unlikely). TL epilepsy can produce intense feelings of religiosity, oneness, ecstatic states, visions, bright lights, etc.
This is not to downplay the use of chemicals (soma, mushrooms, ayahuasca/DMT, mescal, etc.) to attain spiritual insights and/or to contact the 'other (I believe inner) world', they are very clearly instrumental (to transport the user to a different reality), and there may well have been use of these in very early christianity, eg. before it became a state religion?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa65daf0c) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6454b64) out of 5 stars Review of The Mushroom in Christian Art June 14 2011
By may bruce - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rush's book is one of the most revealing and creative works I have
read on the identity of Jesus. Although some of the images
presented may not be mushrooms, there are so many obvious mushrooms
that they lead to very serious questions: Why are the mushrooms in
the art and why have the art historians neglected to mention this
motif? Rush takes a bold and controversial step in his interpretation
of the mushroom, but his discussion of the Stations of the Cross, as
originally related to finding, processing, and consumption of the
holy mushroom, does seem plausible, certainly more plausible then
that of the story proffered as historical fact by the Catholic Church.
Was Jesus really a mushroom, the path to God, and not a living,
breathing human being?
At first this seemed ridiculous, but after all the information is
presented, I believe Rush is correct. I highly recommend this work
to anyone who is serious about understanding Christian art and the
origins of Christianity,
this will be a very difficult read for the true believer.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa66a915c) out of 5 stars Useful book, probably an essential addition to the corpus June 7 2014
By Mark - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rush is a professor that is herein providing his syllabus to us in the form of a book. He is not a very good writer of books. He is extremely repetitive, using what I call the "Hydra Method" to substantiate what are sometimes untenable positions by coming at the issue from multiple directions again and again. The summary part of his scholarship is often rudimentary and one wonders how he became a professor. Over and over, I kept picturing him closing his eyes and waxing poetic, but his poetry falls flat.

Essentially you can fast-forward and speed-read his book, flipping through pages full of drivel at a hyper accelerated rate. I wanted to give his book 1 star, but as I sped through it, I kept finding I had to stop at some salient point of research that Rush offers up. The reader will come to realize that he has a certain expertise, which in part is in teasing out mushroom motifs from passages of the Bible. Now Rush had 3 stars, because this information is scattered through dozens of other books by other authors and none of them are focusing solely on the Bible like Rush is. As the reader digests the entirety of the book, they realize that it cannot be read without viewing the DVD which is attached onto the back-cover. Here is what Rush does best: he has methodically traveled the world snapping pictures of very old tapestries, stained glass windows, frescos, tomb and catacomb art, psalters and many other sources. He has literally gathered a thousand pictures which tell a very interesting story about Judaism in general and Christianity in particular: THEY USED DRUGS. More to the point, all through the Christian art are seemingly countless depictions of psilocybin "magic" mushrooms and in particular the tell-tale red-cap of the Amanita mushroom.

Now Rush is the consummate professor. You are sitting in his class, having endured his preachification, and now he turns on his projector and takes you into another world. You are inundated with pictures, slide after slide of Jesus with mushrooms, Mary with mushrooms, angels with mushrooms, Adam and Eve with mushrooms. By the end, you understand that Christianity was a mushroom religion. PERIOD. This is why Paul spoke of the Eucharist and the Agape feast in terms of partaking in a "Mystery" with a special sacrament. This is why over time, Church officials made the Agape feast forbidden, because early Christians were reportedly "wandering" around the Church in a stoned-out haze getting into everything. This is why Paul tells Christians to partake of the sacramental part of the Agape feast in the privacy of their own homes, but to continue coming together to partake in the communal meals.

While Rush includes 252 images in his DVD (or is it a CD? idk), he mentions many other images in his book which he doesn't seem to have had permission to reproduce. Many other authors have a handful of images they use in their books, but Rush far exceeds them. He has more images of the "mushroom tree" as art-historians call it than all other authors combined. I can't imagine anybody ever catching up to him. Through is perseverance, Rush has made himself an essential invitee to the round-table on Myco-Mythology. You simply cannot have the conversation without him anymore. I think that over time he will become a better author and I hope that he edits "The Mushroom in Christian Art" to continue refining what seems to be his Opus. Many authors have done this with their own Opus, and Rush would be doing us a service in situ. I can't help but wonder if his editor at North Atlantic Books and his agent (surely he has one) didn't do him a disservice by letting this book go to print in such a haphazard way. Nonetheless I give the book 4 stars simply for his collection of images alone. Invaluable!
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa74e5af8) out of 5 stars The Catholics are always in denial over the true message of Jesus Feb. 20 2011
By Christopher John Hobby - Published on
Format: Paperback
As an artist, and knowledgeable in Christian icons, I must say this is one of the most creative interpretations of Christian art I have ever come across. A few of the mushroom motifs are a bit questionable but the existence of the mushroom in Christian art is undeniable. He also makes an outstanding case for the identity of Jesus; this will most certainly be a difficult read for the true believer. I can also understand why Psillytom wrote his review, for the Catholic Church, out of political and economic necessity, would have to trash this work and Dr. Rush along with it. Rush, however, appears to subscribe to the primary messages of Jesus (he does not come across as an atheist), that is, human decency, know thyself, seek knowledge, and personal responsibility. And aren't these the important themes anyway? It really doesn't matter if Jesus was a real person or a mushroom, just be a decent person - and you don't need a priest or church to accomplish this. The other important point is that it is the artists who have kept the messages of human decency, know thyself, and personal responsibility alive - not the Catholic Church. This is a must read for serious scholars in Christian art as well as those seeking the truth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa632dfe4) out of 5 stars worth the price but not what I thought it would be June 6 2014
By Ken Robinson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DVD is really just a CD with jpeg images. I loved it but thought the images would be higher resolution. Text was good. I had hoped for more but glad I got the book.
HASH(0xa6698b04) out of 5 stars Not what it could have been Jan. 23 2015
By Linda in Santa Cruz - Published on
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for the illustrations, so one nice feature of it is that it is very cheap for a book with as many color photographs, collected all in one place, as a DVD full of high-quality images.

However, as other reviewers have said, the book might have had scholarship, but the author chose instead of just transcribe his lectures: rambling, repetitive, full of personal opinion and inane asides. One must wade through vast paragraphs of stream of consciousness spew, interrupted occasionally by quoted texts from other authors which may or may not have anything to do with supporting his point.

I am disposed to support the thesis of this book. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, and if I hadn't read Heinrick's Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy" I would definitely assume the entire idea is nuts. It would be wonderful to have a book that explores the mushroom in early christian art, and makes an argument for the sacred use of amanita muscaria among early christians. But this book isn't it.

Read Heinrick's book, and look at the pictures in this one.