Jesus and Mary ... Jane? Marijuana Activists Claim Jesus Used Cannabis Oil for Miracles WRONG

Watch out for all the old heresies and new "weeds" that are constantly popping back up. But this one is just ... it's a whole new level of crazy. And I recently interviewed Dr. John Bergsma to show you just how crazy.

Marijuana activists are now trying to tie Jesus to cannabis oil. Pot proponents are arguing that Jesus was actually an early advocate of cannabis oil. Not only that, there's more! 

The worst part of all ...

Jesus didn't perform miracles. Cannabis oil did. 

Not only that, if you're anti-cannabis, you're anti-Christ ... dude.  



The marijuana activists are using the Bible to defend this theory. Here's how you can use the Bible to demolish this theory courtesy of some excellent professors of Biblical Hebrew, including Dr. John Bergsma and Dr. Andrew Glicksman. 

You may have encountered this argument already. This article will dissect the pro-pot argument and show you how to respond.

In case you're wondering, though, Dr. John Bergsma pulls no punches. Not only does he prove why the pro-pot position is "quack scholarship", he also had the following to say: "It’s so fringe, I’ve never heard a legitimate Bible scholar argue that." 

Get ready for some fireworks!

Here's how the Bible-Cannabis argument goes: The "cannabis" translation of the Bible

This is how the argument begins as described in The Anointed One: Did Jesus Perform His Miracles with Cannabis Oil?


The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw. The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears several times throughout the Old Testament. Benet explained that "in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant.”

The word "cannabis" appears "several times throughout the Old Testament" - where?  This is the critical question. 

They allege that the Hebrew word qaneh can be translated as "cannabis." Here's the crux of the argument as stated in "Cannabis or Calamus? What’s really in the bible?"


The Hebrew word for “calamus” is “kanah bosm,” which is plural.  The singular for this is “kaneh bos,” which sounds remarkably close the modern word “cannabis.”


On the surface, that sounds logical, right? If you're not familiar with Hebrew, this sounds right.


The pot lobby alleges that "calamus" is a mis-translation of qaneh:


This word appears five times in the Old Testament [...] and has been mistranslated as calamus, a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was repeated in the many translations that followed.

Remember that logical step. Why must qaneh-calamus be a mistranslation? Because calamus has no monetary or medicinal value. We'll come back to this point later. 

As referenced above, nearly all translations of the Hebrew Bible, including the Septuagint, translate the Hebrew word qaneh (pronounced kaw-naw) into “calamus.” 

According to Strong’s Concordanceqaneh [H7070] means “a reed (as erect); by resemblance a rod (especially for measuring) shaft, tube, stem, (the radius of the arm) beam (of a steelyard): – balance, bone, branch, calamus, cane, reed, spearman, stalk.” All the appearances of qaneh in Scripture are provided in the end notes.[1] One such appearance occurs at Isaiah 42:3.[2]


The most important appearance of qaneh in Scripture to the Bible-cannabis argument is Exodus 30:23 (translated as "aromatic cane" in the link). This section of Exodus provides the recipe for the Oil of Anointing. This same recipe will continue into Jesus' time.  

Here's the conclusion to their argument: Jesus used cannabis oil ... 

While that etymogical argument in no way serves as material proof, the "aromatic reed theory" can serve as the basis for a set of assumptions. Assuming the oil described in Exodus did in fact contain high levels of cannabis, the effective dose of the plant's medicinal compounds would certainly be potent enough to explain many of the healing miracles attributed to Jesus, as marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for everything from skin diseases and glaucoma to neurodegenerative conditions and multiple sclerosis. 

Despite all the provocative headlines, the pro-pot position nevertheless admits to a lack of proof. But that doesn't stop them from running wild with their assumptions. 

"There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion," Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University asserts in Jesus 'healed using cannabis'.

Ruck adds some more assumptions for good measure: "Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures."


In "Was Jesus a Stoner?" an article in the drug magazine High Times, Chris Bennett is quoted as saying those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were "literally drenched" in a cannabis oil mixture.[3] "If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians," Bennett concludes, "then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ." 

Yes, you read that correctly. Anti-drugs is Anti-Christ. Wow. 

Here's what's wrong with the Bible-Cannabis Theory

I recently interviewed Professors John Bergsma and Andrew Glicksman about this Bible-cannabis theory. Dr. Bergsma responded "gently" at first to the Bible-cannabis argument: "It’s so fringe, I’ve never heard a legitimate Bible scholar argue that."

Dr. John Bergsma is a Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Bergsma is the recipient of the American Bible Society Award for excellence in biblical languages and has expertise in several ancient languages including Akkadian, Aramaic, Greek, Ugaritic, and Hebrew.[4]


Dr. Andrew Glicksman is a Professor of Theology at the University of Dallas. He teaches courses in Scripture and biblical Hebrew and specializes in the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. He also served as a supervisor on the Wadi-ath Thamad Excavation Project in Jordan.[5]

What can you tell us about Sula Benet and the etymological argument of deriving "cannabis" from qaneh bosem?

Dr. John Bergsma: Deriving “cannabis” from Hebrew “qaneh bosem” is quack scholarship. No Bible scholars argue for that, and you can’t find any literature supporting that etymology in professional biblical scholarship.  Sula Benet is unknown in Bible scholarship.  


Dr. Andrew Glicksman: I think that the connection is unlikely. Most English dictionaries state that cannabis comes from Greek (not Hebrew) kannabis and refers to hemp. Furthermore, if the connection is legitimate one would need to explain why the voweling is so different (bis instead of bos - in my experience, this is not a common vowel confusion) and why a final consonant (m = not a problematic letter in moving from Hebrew to Greek) was dropped.

What is the actual translation of qaneh bosem

Dr. Bergsma: Responsible scholars translate as follows: “qaneh” means “cane” or “reed”, and “bosem” is cognate to balsam and it means "sweet smelling”.  So “qaneh bosem” is “sweet-smelling reed” or calamus. 

Dr. Andrew Glicksman: Most Hebrew lexicons identify qaneh bosem as aromatic cane or calamus - a spice used to perfume holy oil. This seems to me to be a better candidate. 


Is there any mention of cannabis or marijuana-related plants in the Bible? Why not? 

Dr. Bergsma: There is no word for hemp, cannabis, or marijuana in the Bible.  It wasn’t part of Israelite culture.  In antiquity, it was only used by the Scythians, who inhabited modern-day Ukraine and southwestern Russia.  They had little contact with the Israelites. 

The pro-cannabis argument claims that calamus had neither monetary nor medicinal value in ancient Israel. What can you tell us about the value of calamus to the ancient world? 

Dr. Bergsma: Calamus was and is valuable as a perfume ingredient, as it’s essential oil has a very pleasant smell. Calamus was used in perfume in Egypt from the 1300s BC onward.


As for its medicinal qualities, WebMD states that calamus is commonly used to treat a variety of stomach problems, including ulcers, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), diarrhea, intestinal gas (flatulence), and upset stomach. Not only that, it is thought that chemicals in calamus cause muscle relaxation and sleepiness and may also reduce swelling and attack cancer cells.

Is there any Biblical evidence that Jesus used cannabis oil for healing? Is there any extra-Biblical evidence that further refutes the cannabis-healing argument?

Dr. Bergsma: There is no evidence whatever that Jesus used cannabis oil for healing.  Cannabis is never mentioned in the New Testament.  It is not present archaeologically in sites from the time of Jesus.  

There you go. 

Have you heard of any other weird arguments about Jesus and cannabis oil? Let me know in the comments below. I want this to be a resource to countering this ridiculous argument. 

Please also remember to share. You never know when the truth on this subject could be helpful to somebody being lured into drugs. 

... TO BAD ARGUMENTS

END NOTES:

[1] You find the word qaneh in all the following verses according to Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon:
(i) qaneh as calamus, Isaiah 42:3; 36:6; 43:24; Psalms 68:31; Exodus 30:23; and Jer. 6:20; 
(ii) qaneh as a stalk of corn, Genesis 41:5,22
(iii) qaneh as a measuring reed, Ezekiel 40:3,5; 41:8

[2] Several of these are important verses. Isaiah 42:3 is a verse you might recognize: "a bruised reed [Hb. qaneh] he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice." This is the prophecy fulfilled by Jesus according to Matthew 12:20. This verse occurs after several accounts of Jesus healing people, such as the Man with the Withered Hand. "The bruised reed" part, however, describes not the healing, but that Jesus "ordered them not to make him known."


[3] It should be noted that Mr. Chris Bennett is not a scholar, which did not stop him from publishing Sex, Drugs, and Violence in the Bible in 2001. It appears the book was mostly distributed through drug magazines such as High Times and Cannabis Culture.

[4] https://www.franciscan.edu/faculty/bergsma-john/

[5] https://udallas.edu/constantin/academics/programs/theology/faculty/glicksman-andrew.php



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