Archaeology Odyssey 2:2, May/June 1999

The Forum

A note of caution regarding the opium mystique. Allenby’s excellent adventure. And how to date a Pharaoh.

Archaeology Odyssey

Don’t Glorify Drug Use!

Let’s hope Archaeology Odyssey will balance the article on opium by Robert S. Merrillees (“How the Ancients Got High,” AO 02:01) with future items showing the horrible effects of the widespread use of opiates.

The sentence that starts “Not only does opium remove inhibitions…” should have ended with “but it also suppresses the conscience and engenders severe depression, paranoia and addiction.”

There is nothing wrong with loading the term “opiate” with pejorative connotations. Merrillees writes that “opium is regarded in the Judeo-Christian ethic as immoral, whereas other religions and cultures are less hide-bound.” This is a tremendous point in favor of the Judeo-Christian ethic and an indictment of “other religions and cultures.”

The Ancients came to the same conclusion and wrote it in the Bible (any version). It could be that we are right about this.

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