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Other Possible Explanations for Moses' Delusions

Posted by libhom Thursday, March 06, 2008

A lot of media attention has gone to an Isreali researcher's claim that Moses was high as a kite when he wrote the "Ten Commandments."

High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

This explanation is perfectly reasonable. Here are two other reasonable explanations.

1) It is entirely possible that Moses was suffering from mental illness.

2) Malnutrition and/or dehydration may have played a role in Moses' visual and auditory halucinations.

Obviously, these three explanations are not mutually exclusive.

An aside: I can not remember what the name of the song and the group are for the following lyrics.
I'm high as a kite, and I just might stop to check you out.

Let me go on, like a blister in the sun.

It's a really funny song, and I would like to remember who did it and its title.



  1. Lew Scannon Says:
  2. "Blister In The Sun" by the Violent Femmes.

    I must say that all the above are apt descriptions of how "visions" may have been plausible. Also ergot, from moldy bread has been found to cause hallucinations too.

  3. libhom Says:
  4. That's an interesting parallel between Moses and the madness of the Salem Witch Trials.



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