The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name
I'm so torn by this book. For one, it's such an enjoyable journey—pun intended. Vastly oversimplifying, it lays a theory that early Christianity retrofitted psychedelic ritual from a cult of Dionysus, which explains its rapid early expansion. There's a lot to unpack here—there was a psychedelic ritual related to Dionysus?—and the book reads as a well-researched exploration journal.
Conflictingly, I feel I have no way of evaluating its claims. They're interesting, but the author is clearly telling a specific story. He even addresses this, talking about how modern Classics scholars have an idealized version of Greek culture which is incompatible with this theory. This I can believe (historians are blinded by their culture as anyone is), but this doesn't necessarily mean his underlying theory is true. However, it's a quite enjoyable read.
This is a part of my Media Diet. Learn more about this project here.