Friday, 28 October 2011

Alternative Reality

Joshua having a vision in Jericho. (Why would an angel need a shield?)
Here's a strange tale from the Bible. It started me wondering about the role of hallucinations, mind-altering substances and plain old insanity in religion.

And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua 5:12-15

And that's it. Nothing more of this tale at all. Tactfully, no one mentioned it again...

I wonder what people thought when they found Joshua standing there with his shoe off, claiming a magic man told him to do it. Maybe others were feeling the effects of eating of the 'old corn' and the 'fruits of the land of Canaan'. Ergotamine sandwich, anyone?

Perhaps wacky baccy was a lot more common then than we realise....

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