‘Entheogenic-Religious Fiction’

Thomas B. Roberts, professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University, edited the books “The Psychedelic Future of the Mind” and “Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion,” the latter of which was acknowledged as a valuable source in my latest novel, “The Testament of James.”

Dr. Roberts (no known relation to the Beatles’ Doctor Robert) was kind enough to post a four-star review of “Testament” to Amazon this week, titled “Entheogenic-Religious Fiction,” also posting it to a number of addresses on his “psychedelics” list, which is also much appreciated.

Dr. Roberts writes: “A new member of the psychedelic literary genre, The Testament of James appeals to readers who share an interest in the roles that entheogens may have played in the founding of Judaism and Christianity. A manuscript apparently written by James, brother of Jesus, is smuggled out of Egypt and offered to the book’s hero, Matthew, who is a bookseller near a college in New England. Matthew, a highly respected dealer, specializes in collectors’, scarce, and rare editions.

“Along the way, someone dies. But Testament isn’t primarily a murder mystery. It’s about the struggles Matthew and his staff have with the Egyptian brothers who delivered the book; they want to be paid. Representatives of the Egyptian government want the book repatriated as a stolen national treasure. Roman Catholic monks want to obtain it to ‘bury’ in Vatican vaults. And a rich reverend from California wants to make its contents widely available.

“Entheogenists will appreciate the arguments about the roles these plants may have played in Western religions and ancient culture. Book collectors and bookmen will enjoy the book’s points on the bookselling trade. And historians of religion will variously enjoy —- and/or be annoyed by — the speculative scholarly discussions, especially about the crucifixion.

“A bit of dialogue from Lance White, the millionaire California clergyman-book collector gives a taste of the text. In a climatic scene, he is arguing with the monk:

“’No, it’s the knowledge all the great religions were originally designed to preserve.’ Lance White spread his own arms wide, gazing upward and looking downright beatific. ‘It’s the direct path to the knowledge of God and his will that the priests had slammed closed, and which to keep closed they were willing to see Jesus crucified in pain. It’s a secret the church could hope to keep hidden while it expanded into Europe, which has surprisingly few safe natural entheogens, except witches’ ointment. But it was the secret you were terrified would resurface when your priests reported back from the New World that the indigenous people here could see the face of God, hear the voice of God by ingesting the peyotl cactus, the flower seed of ololioqui, even though the manna itself, the sacred mushroom teonanacatl, the flesh of the God.’ (page 180)

“A book of recreational drug reading.”

So that’s what it’s about! 🙂

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