In this blog post I deal with an interesting possible historical source for the practice of communion. It was a well established pagan Greek practice apparently added to the text by NT editors. Read on for more.
Jordan has been off the radar for about a year, suffering from a drug induced medical injury. He has finally returned and is taking life slow, doing regular podcasts from his office.
He has taken to interviewing interesting people on interesting topics, and can garner quite a few views on his podcast. A recent podcast of his caught my attention because it deals with a probable source for communion. A link to that podcast, Psychedelics and the Ancient Age, follows below.
In that podcast he has 2 guests. The first, Brian Muraresku, raised Catholic, is an author of a new book that goes into what looks to be the source of communion in Christianity.
This was immediately interesting to me because the prophetic word the day we stopped doing communion was that communion came from somewhere else. Joshua does not like it.
So here is someone who has a plausible, well researched, source for the practice of communion. This from someone generally friendly to Christianity, so this is not a hostile source.
The surprise conclusion of his research was that the primary non-Christian Greek religion 2000 years ago had a similar practice. The only difference? Chemical analysis of the wine residuals in archaeological remains shows the wine was spiked with serious psychedelic drugs.
The second guest on the podcast, Professor Carl Ruck, goes into the effects of those drugs, which are now generally known. After some prodding by Jordan, Ruck who appears to still be a user, basically says the effects of those chemicals causes people to think they are god.
You should immediately think of the garden of Eden, the serpent's seduction of Eve and the story there of becoming like god too. So Jordan's guests are collectively connecting communion to Eve in the garden.
So the chemicals involved in this precursor to communion causes the same delusions as that suffered by Eve. And, this carries on to similar subjects, including death. So lets back up, and look at those textual stories in detail.
Bread and Wine
Communion is a central ceremony in liturgical branches of Christianity. Catholics practice closed communion, meaning you must be a member to participate. Protestant churches usually hold open communion, but it is not as predictable.
Communion is referenced at the Last Supper and again in 1 of the Epistles. Communion is not widely discussed in the text. It also squarely fails by the Acts 15 rules of additions, which we learned well after we were told to stop practicing it ourselves.
Ruck makes the point in the latter half of the podcast that he thinks Christianity is a melding of Greek and Jewish influence. I see it differently. The editors added those influences to an inspired core document that is neither Greek nor Jewish.
Since the size of the additions swamp the inspired core, Ruck's conceptualization of Christianity is not that far off. So if we don't understand the Greek world very well, which we don't, especially in this area, we don't see where Communion comes from exactly.
But, there are other references to communion in the text. And, likely in inspired stories. The first of those is Joseph's encounter in prison with Pharaoh's cup bearer and baker.
Who these guys are is left something of a mystery. At the lowest end of the range of possibilities is these men are just part of Pharaoh's kitchen. This makes no sense, because kitchen help are probably unknown to Pharaoh personally, and he was clearly mad at these men, mad enough to toss them in with Joseph.
Perhaps servers or food tasters? Here it is getting interesting, but that would be a trusted position, and loosing trust is not going to get even 1 of them restored.
So what else? If Pharaoh practices something like communion in his day, then these men would be responsible for some aspect of the ceremony. One man carries the cup of communion, the other carries the bread of communion. In this view think of Pharaoh conducting a large ceremonial service like at St. Peters.
From a stock Christian perspective, Pharaoh conducting communion is absurd. But if we accept communion as coming from outside, then why not see it in ancient Egypt too? In other words, a practice well developed very early in recorded history.
By giving us this reference, the inspired text is trying to say that communion in Christianity comes at least from ancient Egypt. If people around you practice it, then they are still in Egypt too.
The point of the research discussed in the podcast is the cup was NOT simply alcohol. The wine was spiked. Those chemicals create the same mental state as in the garden of Eden. So Pharaoh could be inferred to be practicing something much more serious. Bread and wine are simply the symbols for something else.
Jordan makes the point in this podcast that Shamanic practices are known to be essentially everywhere in the ancient world. Those practices often involve whatever the local psychedelic drug might happen to be. Spike it into a cup of wine? Probably. Would Pharaoh being doing it too? Probably.
Joseph's story curiously continues. Joseph is called before Pharaoh because Pharaoh cannot get an interpretation of a dream. If Pharaoh's officials are more like Shamen, standing like priests before Pharaoh and delivering god's word, then their failure to interpret is pointing out their religion as false.
But it is still pointing at their religion as trying to represent god to Pharaoh. So there is some plausibility in this position. The cupbearer and baker are involved with Pharaoh religiously.
Though expressed in a very different way in a very different era in history we see similar threads in Daniel's encounters with Nebuchadnezzar.
First, Daniel refuses the king's food and wine. By doing that Daniel looks considerably better than all the others around. When you watch the podcast, look carefully at the differences in physical appearances between Jordan's guests.
The younger man has stayed away from these drugs. The older has not. In this difference you see the difference that the text is implying over Daniel and his friends. Daniel was being invited into the religion of Babylon, and he was declining. Followers of Joshua do the same wherever they may be.
This isn't an issue of being malnourished. Just like the cup bearer and baker are not dealing with food, Daniel is about being poisoned and having minds ruined by the use of psychedelic drugs.
Daniel must also give interpretations to Nebuchadnezzar because the religion of Babylon's royal court cannot actually give real interpretations of real encounters with Joshua.
Curiously, in the Daniel account, the king knows that interpretations are made up. He knows their religion is false.
So it is possible to paraphrase the story in the Garden of Eden. The serpent is saying, take this drug, think you are god. But in reality, as Joshua explains, you will really die.
This basic plot continues in Pharaoh's day. Now a standard practice, there are officials who help with the ceremony around Pharaoh.
Then later, the same practice is documented in the text in Nebuchadnezzar's day. Stay away from this stuff or you will get sick is the witness of Daniel himself.
If Jordan Peterson is right, everywhere in the ancient world this sort of thing was practiced to various degrees. Depending on what drugs were readily available in local plants.
So as the podcast explains, by the time of the Greek world this has developed again into a highly organized central practice in Greek religion. It is well documented in the surviving secular Greek literature, even if not mentioned when being discussed in school.
It was this family of practices that our editors were lifting from Greek life and putting into the text with their edits.
We live in a post-prohibition world, where alcohol is regulated. Different percentages are allowed, different types are allowed, but those that are allowed are not seriously spiked with other mind altering chemicals.
But in an unregulated world, what would that look like? Moonshine? Worse? After centuries what would it look like? The least lethal, highest impact drugs would simply be found by trial and error.
Ruck suggests it still goes on around us. The same seduction as in that first garden. With the same serious consequences for those who travel down that path.
Here is the link to the JBP Podcast, S4E37, titled Psychedelics and the Ancient Age. It was posted July 19, 2021. There is much more than I have touched on here. As you watch, think about what they are saying relative to the text.