Okay, it seems that the latest augment used by fundy-type christians, against christians and people in general for cannabis use is the Greek word "pharmekeia" and "pharmakon". These words are used a combined grand total of five times in the New Testament. Once in Paul's letter to the Galatains, and four times in the book of Revelation. Now, I'll quote it from Galatians. It's used in the same way in Revelation: Galatians 5:19-21 (I'll use the KJV and NIV, as they're the most widely popular.) KJV: NIV: Did you catch it? The word witchcraft. Here's how Strong's Greek dictionary defines it: Now, instead of writing my own long paper about it, a person who goes by the name "rv" on Drug WarRant has written an excellent study on the words. Drug WarRant :: View topic - Pharmakon, Strong's Bible Dictionary, and Prohibition I'm going to quote the whole thing now: This is a study of the Greek words pharmakeia, pharmakeus, and pharmakos which appear in the New Testament bible. These Greek words appear in contemporary bible dictionaries, lexicons and commentaries. They are used as a premiss by some christians as support for the governments war on drugs. Here's how it's done: the words witchcraft and/or sorcery in Galatians and Revelation are examined using a "Bible Concordance" such as "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible". The Englsh word then references the original Greek word from which it was translated. In this case the words are "pharmakeia", "pharmakeus" and "pharmakos". These words are then examined in the "Dictionary of the Greek Testament" by James Strong. Here's how it reads: Quote: 5331. pharmakeia; from 5332; medication ("pharmacy"), i.e. (by extension) magic (literal.or figurtive.): sorcery, witchcraft. 5332. pharmakeus, from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell giving potion); a druggist ("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. (by extension.) a magician: sorcerer. 5333. pharmakos; the same as 5332: sorcerer. James Strong: Dictionary of the Greek Testament And from this definition people derive such interpretations as "drug use", "misuse of drugs", "pharmaceutical drugs", so-called "mind altering drugs", and so forth. Strongs Bible Dictionary is "misleading" on the definition of pharmakeia and pharmakeus. Also, this definition originates in the late 1800s. There are other bible lexicons, published after the late 1800s, which define those words as "enchantment with drugs" and are likewise misleading, but Strongs Dictionary is the most widely used. A concordance is an "index". It lists the "number of times" a word appears in the bible. Greek words having the root "pharmak", as in pharmakeia, appear a total of "5 times" (no more, no less) in the New Testament. The verse's are Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. I am not disputing the "indexing" of those words. I am disputing the "definition" of those words as they appear in many "20th century" Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons. It should be noted that "James Strong" (1822-1894) was a Prohibitionist. Apparently, his bias as a Protestant Prohibitionist influenced his dictionary definition of those words. These misleading definitions were then copied by the following generation. Also, the demonizing of narcotics was a tactic used by the "wets" (those against alcohol prohibition) beginning in the early 1900s as a means to take pressure off the prohibition of alcohol. In ancient Greek literature words having the root "pharmak", as in pharmaka or pharmakeia have primarily two distinct meanings: POISON or MEDICINE. Whether the word means "poison" as in "trying to poison the king", or "medicine" as in "something used to purge", or "opium mixed in wine" must be determined by the "context". It is important to draw this distinction and not confuse medicine with poison. It is much like drawing a distinction between a "poisonous plant" and a "medicinal plant" even though their both called "plants". Let's prove that by looking at that word in these two verses from the Apocrypha: Quote: He (Ptolemy) heard himself called a traitor at every turn...Unable to command the respect due his office he took poison (pharmakeusas) and died. 2 Maccabees 10:13 Quote: "The Lord created medicines (pharmaka) from the earth. He who is wise will not despise them." Sirach 38:4 In 2 Maccabees 10:13 "pharmakeusas" means "poisoned". in Sirach 38:4 "pharmaka" means "medicines". The Latin bible uses "veneno" in 2 Maccabees and "medicinam" in Sirach. One means medicine, the other poison. It is important not to confuse the two. I will show how this word was used by ancient writers such as Josephus, Philo, Theophrastus, Plato, Dio Cassius, Hippocrates, Galen, and others. I am using the "Loeb Classical Library" which has the "Greek and English" on opposite pages. PHARMAKEIA IN EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS Quote: Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft (pharmakeia), enmities, strife, jealousy Galatians 5:20 Quote: And they repented not of their murders, nor of their sorceries (pharmakeia) nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. Revelation 9:21 An early christian document called the Didache was written about 100 A.D. The word "pharmakia" in the Didache means poison: Quote: And the way that leads to death is this... acts of murder, adultery, passion, fornication, theft, idolatry, magic, mixing poisons (pharmakia), robbery, false witness. Didache 5:1 Another early christian document called the "Shepherd of Hermas", written in Greek, also uses the word pharmakon to mean poison: Quote: And so now I say to you who lead the church and sit in its chief seats. Do not be like the sorcerers (pharmakois). For the sorcerers (pharmakoi) carry their poison (pharmaka) in boxes, but you carry your poison (pharmakon) in the heart. Shepherd of Hermas: Visions 17 (3.9) Observe how the poison (pharmakon) is said to be carried in "boxes" in both the Shepherd of Hermas and in the following record by Josephus: Quote: She produced the box containing a small quantity of the poison (pharmakou), but the king let her alone, and transferred the tortures to Antiphilus's mother and brother who both confessed that Antiphilus brought the box out of Egypt, and that they had procured the poison (pharmakon) from his brother, a doctor in Alexandria. Josephus: Jewish War 1. 598 The above record from Josephus is about a political assassination using a poison (pharmakon). When the New Testament was translated into Latin they used the word veneficia for pharmakeia in Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 9:21. Tertullian, writing in Latin, uses the words venefico and venenum which mean poison when commenting on Galatians 5:19-20: Quote: For this I say brethern, that flesh and blood cannot obtain possesion of the kingdom of God - meaning those works of flesh and blood which when writing to the Galatians (5:19)... To administer poison (venenum) is a felony... Shall the poisoner (venefico) be acquitted? Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion), Book 5, chap 10 Our English word "venom", as in snake venom, comes from the Latin word venenum. Observe that a poison (pharmakon) consisting of snake venom is used as a means to kill the king in the following record by Josephus: Quote: This man came and brought another deadly potion (pharmakon), the poison of asps and secretions of other reptiles, in order that Pheroras and his wife might be armed with this also to destroy the king. Josephus: Jewish War 1. 601 LAWS AGAINST POISONING The following are ancient law codes dealing with the crime of poisoning: Quote: You shall not allow a witch (pharmakous) to live. Exodus 22:18 The English word "witch" comes from Old English "wicca" which probably originally meant "poisoner". The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) uses the word "pharmakous' in Exodus 22:18. The Hebrew bible uses the word "Kashaph". Josephus and Philo, commenting on Exodus 22:18, interpret it to mean "poisoning", as in a murder attempt using poison: Quote: Let no Israelite keep any poison (pharmakon) that may cause death or any other harm; if one be caught with it, let him be put to death, and suffer the same fate that he would have inflicted on the intended victims of the poison (pharmakon). Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews 4. 279 Quote: Moses commands that male and female poisoners (pharmakeutas and pharmakidas) shall not be allowed to live. Philo: Special Laws 3. 94 Other Societies in the ancient world also had laws against poisoning (pharmakeia): Quote: So this statement shall stand as the law about poisoning (pharmakeia): Whosoever shall poison (pharmakeu) any person... if the agent be a doctor, and if he be convicted of poisoning (pharmakon), he shall be punished by death. Plato: Laws, Book 11. 933 Quote: Crimes committed in Italy which require a public investigation, such as treason, conspiracy, poisoning (pharmakeia), and assassination, are under the jurisdiction of the senate. Polybius, the Histories: Book 6.13.4 Quote: Now the legal mode of death for poisoners (pharmakeis) in Persia is as follows: There is a broad stone, and on this the head of the culprit is placed, and then with another stone they smite and pound until they crush the face and head to pulp. Plutarch's Lives: Artaxerxes 19 This Persian poisoning (pharmakeia) law in Plutarch is accompanied by the following story: Quote: There was a small bird that Parysatis cut in two with a little knife smeared with poison (pharmako) on one side, thus wiping the poison (pharmakon) off on one part only of the bird; the undefiled and wholesome part she then put into her own mouth and ate, but gave to Stateira the poisoned part... Stateira died in convulsions and great suffering. Plutarch's Lives: Artaxerxes 19 There's an old movie called "Fall of the Roman Empire" where a man poisons Caesar by putting poison on one side of a knive, cuts an apple in half and gives the poisoned half to Caesar. The movie script writer must have read that section in Plutarch. When pharmakeia is used in a condemning or punitive sense in ancient Greek writings it always means "poisoning". JOSEPHUS: THE POISONING OF CLEOPATARA'S BROTHER, ANTIPATER, AND PHERORAS Josephus Flavius (A.D. 37-100) was born in Jerusalem. He was learned in Jewish law and Greek literature. His writings on history are regarded as highly valuable. His two most famous works are "The Jewish War" and "The Antiquities of the Jews". The following are records of political assassinations by means of "poisoning" (pharmakeia). I am using the Loeb Classic (Greek-English) and two English translations: Quote: Cleopatra was very covetous and wicked. She had already poisoned (pharmakois) her brother, because she knew he was to be king of Egypt Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews 15.89 Josephus tells us that Cleopatra poisoned (pharmakois) her brother so that she could sit on the throne of Egypt instead of him. Quote: A war had already begun between Antony and the younger Caeser; but as Malichus was most afraid of Antipater, he sought to put him out of the way, and with money persuaded the butler of Hyrcanus, with whom they were both to feast, to kill Antipater by poisoning (pharmako). Josephus Flavius, The Antiquities of the Jews 14. 280-281 Quote: Malichus, when he was suspected of poisoning (pharmakeias) Antipater denied it, and made the people believe he was not guilty. Josephus, Jewish War 1. 227 Antipater was the governor of Judea, and the father of King Herod. Malichus was a military commander in Judea. Hyrcanus was the high priest in Judea. Josephus tells us that the governor of Judea was murdered by poisoning (pharmakeia). Quote: They said that Pheroras supped with his wife the day before he fell sick, and that a certain potion (pharmakon) was brought him in a type of food he was not used to eating; but when he had eaten it he died; this potion (pharmakon) was brought out of Arabia by a woman, under the pretense as a love potion, but in reality to kill Pheroras; for the Arabian women are skillful in making such poisons (pharmakistotatai) Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews 17. 62-63 Quote: Certain freedmen of Pheroras came to King Herod and told him that his brother had been deliberately poisoned (pharmakois). Josephus, Jewish War 1. 582 Pheroras was the brother of King Herod and governor of Perea (an area east of the Jordan river). Josephus tell us that he, like Antipater, was poisoned (pharmakois). THE POISONING OF DRUSES, CLAUDIUS, AND BRITANNICUS The following are records involving poisoning (Greek=pharmakeia, Latin=veneno) of high ranking government officials in the first century Roman Empire. The historian's Dio Cassius and Josephus wrote in Greek. Tacitus and Suetonius wrote in Latin. I am using the Loeb Classics (Greek-English and Latin-English), along with additional English translations of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius: Quote: Druses, the son of Tiberius, perished by poison (pharmako). Sejanus administered poison (pharmakon) to Drusus with the help of Livilla, Drusus's wife. Dio's Roman History, Epitome of Book 57 Dio Cassius tells us that the heir to the throne of Caeser was poisoned (pharmakon). These historical records tell us there were many aristocrats poisoning (pharmakeia) each other in those days. Jealous, covetous, and murderous they were. Next we have Nero: Quote: Claudius Caeser died after a reign of thirteen years, eight months, and twenty days. It was reported by some that he was poisoned (pharmakois) by his wife Agrippina. Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews 20. 148 Quote: Agrippina, learning that Claudius was trying to secure the throne for Brittanicus, instead of her son Nero, became alarmed and made haste to forstall anything of the sort by poisoning (pharmako) Claudius. Agrippina sent for a famous dealer in poisons (pharmakida), a woman named Locusta, who had recently been convicted on this very charge; and preparing with her aid a poison (pharmakon), she put it on some mushrooms... Agrippina ate of the others, but made Claudius eat of the one that contained the poison (pharmakon)... during the night the poison (pharmako) took effect and Claudius died... having been emperor thirteen years, eight months and twenty days. Nero now treacherously murdered Britannicus by means of poison (pharmako). Dio's Roman History, Epitome of Book 61 Quote: When Nero had succeeded to the throne, he brought about the death of Britannicus by poison (pharmakon). Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews 20.153 Dio Cassius and Josephus tell us that Claudius and Brittanicus were poisoned (pharmakois) so that Nero could become Caeser. This is also recorded by Tacitus and Suetonius who wrote in Latin: Quote: Nero began his career of parricide and murder with Claudius. For even if he was not the instigator of the emperor's death, he knew all about it. Since the poison (venenum) that killed Claudius was infused into his mushrooms, Nero proclaimed mushrooms 'food of the gods'... Nero tried to kill Brittanicus by poison (veneno). He procured the potion from an expert poisoner (venenariorum) named Locusta. Suetonius: Lives of the Caesars, 6. 33 Quote: Agrippina, long resolved on murdering Claudius... sought advice on the type of poison (veneni)... A person skilled in such matters was selected, Locusta by name, who had recently been condemned for poisoning (veneficii)... writers of the time have declared that the poison (venenum) was infused into some mushrooms. Tacitus, Annals, book 12.66-67 Venefici (poisoner) is the Latin equivalent of pharmakeia. Pharmakeia is used only one time in Pauls letters, Galatians 5:20. Galatians was written in the same decade that Claudius and Britannicus were poisoned (pharmakois) so that Nero could become Ceasar. PHILO: SPECIAL LAWS 3 Another author from the first century is Philo. He lived from about 20 B.C. to A.D. 50. He was a learned Jew who wrote in Greek. Like Josephus, his writings are very valuable as historical documents. The following are from "The Works of Philo" using the English translation of C.D. Yonge, and the Loeb Classic (Greek - English) by F.H. Colson. Quote: But those who take another's life with swords, or spears, or clubs may possibly have done so without premeditation... and allowed their anger to overpower their reason when they committed the homicide... But there are others of the greatest wickedness, the sorcerers and poisoners (pharmakeutai) who invent all kinds of schemes and devices to harm their neighbors. Moses commands that male and female poisoners (pharmakeutas and pharmakidas) should be executed as soon as they are detected (Exodus 22:18 )... Hostile intentions if undisguised can be guarded against, but those who disguise their attacks with the aid of poisons (pharmakeiais) cannot easily be observed... the slayer who openly uses a sword can only kill a few persons at a time, but if he mixes a compund of deadly poison (pharmakois) with food his victims will be counted by the thousands. Philo, Special Laws 3. 92-95 This section in Philo's Special Laws 3 deals with legal codes about homicide. Pharmakeia here means "poisoning" as in intentenally killing someone by putting poison in their food. It should be rather obvious that all the records above are refering to killing someone with poison. This is what pharmakeia means when it's used in a punitive or condemning sense. Cleopatra poisoned (pharmakeia) her brother so that she could be queen. Agrippina poisoned (pharmakeia) Claudius so that Nero could become emperor. These are people lusting for power so they poison their political rivals. That's what pharmakeia means when it's used in a punitive and condemning sense. That's how Josephus and the other ancient writers used the word. The notion that "pharmakeia in the bible means smoking pot, or drug user, or some other such concoction" is a 20th century fabrication based on a misleading defintion that crept into bible dictionaries and lexicons in the late 19th century. I'll show more on that later. PHARMAKON AS MEDICINE Greek words having the root pharmak can also mean medicine. Whether pharmakeia means medicine or poison must be determined by the "context". It is important not to confuse the two. The following are excerpts from ancient Greek writings. I am using the "Loeb Classical Library" (Greek-English). I'll start with Hippocrates: Quote: Those diseases that medicines (pharmaka) do not cure are cured by the knife. Those that the knife does not cure are cured by fire. Those that fire does not cure must be considered incurable. Hippocrates: Aphorisms 7. 87 Straight forward from Hippocrates. If medicines (pharmaka) don't cure it, the knife will. If the knife don't cure it, the fire will. If fire don't cure it you won't get cured. Quote: If the quicker treatment is desired, after a vapor bath purge with hellebore... But if the patient wish to avoid drug-taking (pharmakopotein) he should take a hot bath, and then vomit after eating foods that are sharp, moist, sweet and salt. Hippocrates: Regimen 3. 73 Here, "drug- taking" (pharmakopotein) refers to "purges" using the the hellebore plant. Next I'll quote Galen (A.D.130-200) whose writings on medicine were standard until the 16th century: Quote: For who does not know that if a drug (pharmakon) for attracting phlegm be given in a case of jaundice it will not even evacuate four cyathi (about 4 fl. oz.) of phlegm? Galen: On the Natural Faculties 1.13 Here, Galen the physician refers to a drug (pharmakon) for attracting phlegm. Sounds like an ancient version of Mucinex. Let's next look at Theophrastus (born about 370 B.C.) who wrote very important works on botany: Quote: The Arcadians are accustomed, instead of drinking medicine (pharmakopotein), to drink milk in spring when the juices of such plants are at their best, for then the milk has most medicinal (pharmakodestaton) virtue. Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, Book 9.15 Here, Theoprastus tells us that "milk" has medicinal virtue (pharmakodestaton). Quote: In general iris perfume, as well as others, has medicinal (pharmakodes) properties. Theophrastus, Concerning Odours, 36 And even "perfume" is said to have medicinal properties (pharmakodes). Quote: Alexander became seriously ill, and afflicted by severe pain, sent for his physicians...Philip the Arcarnanian offered to employ risky but quick acting remedies and by the use of drugs (Pharmakeia) to break hold of the disease...The physician gave him a drug (pharmakon) to drink and, aided by the natural strength of the sufferer as well as well as by Fortune, promptly relieved Alexander of the trouble. Diodorus of Sicily, Book 17.31 Here we are told by the historian Diodorus (1st century BC) that medicine (pharmakeia) helped Alexander overcome his illness. Quote: Suppose that a man's son refuses to take a dose of medicine (pharmakeia) when he needs it, and the father induces him to take the drug (pharmakon) by pretending that it is food Xenophon, Memorabilla: 4.2.17 Xenophon, the student of Socrates, says that a medicine (pharmakeia) should be taken by a child who needs it. Quote: I myself have seen a thorn which was embedded in a young man's foot fail to come out when we exerted forcible traction with our fingers, and yet come out painlessly and rapidly on the application of a medicament (pharmakou). Galen, On the Natural Faculties, 1.14 Galen uses medicine (pharmakou) to mean something used "externally". Quote: The properties of roots are numerous and they have numerous uses; but those which have medicinal (pharmakodeis) virtues are especially sought after. Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, Book 9.8 Theophrastus says plant roots have medicinal virtue (pharmakodeis). Quote: To know the structure of the world... the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots... for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. Wisdom of Solomon 7: 17-22 The Apocrypha also says wisdom teaches us the virtues of roots and plants. Quote: Solomon would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall... People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon. 1 Kings 4:33 And King Solomon spoke about all the plants, from the biggest trees to the tiniest moss. People came from all over to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Quote: The Lord created medicines (pharmaka) from the earth. He who is wise will not despise them. Sirach 38: 4 Yeshua ben Sira (Sirach) tells us that the Lord made medicines (pharmaka) from the earth. The wise will not despise them. The book of Sirach was in all early Christian bibles. It was also in the original King James Version of 1611. Words having the root pharmak can mean medicine. Whether pharmakeia means medicine or whether pharmakeia means poison must be determined by the "context". Whenever it's used in a condemning or punitive sense it means "poison", as in putting poison in someones food to kill them, such as when Antipater, the governor of Judea, was poisoned. And it is not to be confused with the medicines (pharmaka) that the wise will not despise. The definition given in "Strongs Bible Dictionary" is misleading and it is a late 19th century invention. WINE IS PHARMAKON Some have said that the bible permits the consumption of wine but not opium, cannabis, etc. because those are drugs (pharmakon). Apparently, those that make this claim have not examined the usages of the word pharmakon in ancient literature, for wine is also called a pharmakon: Quote: And Dionysus was considered a pretty good physician not only for his discovery of wine, a very powerful and very pleasant medicine (pharmakon), but also for bringing into good repute ivy Plutarch's Moralia: Table Talk 3.1, 647 Quote: Moreover, as to wine, the account given by other people apparently is that it was bestowed on us men as a punishment, to make us mad; but our own account, on the contrary, declares that it is a medicine (pharmakon) given for the purpose of securing modesty of soul and health and strength of body. Plato: Laws, Book 2. 672 Plutarch (AD 46-120) and Plato (4th cent. BC) say that wine is also a "pharmakon". In ancient literature there is not a sharp distinction between wine (fermented grapes) and opium. That is, the idea that wine is good but opium or cannabis are bad is primarily a 20th century invention that developed as a consequence of alcohol prohibition. In the ancient world "mixed wine" sometimes meant wine mixed with opium: OPIUM MIXED WITH WINE: NEPENTHES PHARMAKON Quote: Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other councel. Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug (pharmakon) to quite all pain and strife, and bring forgetfulness of every ill...Such helpful drugs (pharmaka) had the daughter of Zeus, which Polydamna, the wife of Thon, had given her, a woman of Egypt, for there the earth, the giver of grain bears the greatest store of drugs (pharmaka), many that are healing when mixed and many that are baneful. Homer: the Odyssey, Book 4 This story about the pharmakon mixed in wine is mentioned by several others in the Greek and Roman world. It's the pharmakon that calms down pain. Quote: The places outside Hellas which specially produce medicinal herbs (pharmakodeis) seem to be the parts of Tyrrhenia and Latium, and still more parts of Egypt, as Homer says: that Helen brought 'things of virtue which Polydamna, the Egyptian wife of Thon, gave her; there the grain bearing earth produces most drugs (pharmaka), many that are good and many baneful.' Among these he says was nepenthes (opium poppy), the famous drug which cures sorrow and passion, so that it causes forgetfulness and indifference to ills. Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants: 9:15 The pharmakon is "opium (nepenthes)". The Loeb Classic of Theophrastus (Greek - English) translated by Sir Arthur Hort has an index listing all the plants under both popular names and botanical names. Opium Poppy (Papaver Somniferum) is called "Nepenthes" and also "Mekon". Theophrastus calls it the "famous drug that causes forgetfulness to ills", refering to it's pain relieving action. Quote: Homer's Helen added a drug to the undiluted wine...For as they drank, Helen tells her guests a tale about Odysseus... This I take it, was the Nepenthes (opium) pharmakon. Plutarch's Moralia: Table Talk 1.1, 614 Plutarch (1st century AD) also refers to the wine mixed with nepenthes (opium). Quote: And as proof of the presence of Homer in Egypt they adduce various pieces of evidence, and especially the healing drink which brings forgetfullness of all past evils, which was given by Helen to Telemachus in the home of Menelaus. For it is manifest that the poet had acquired exact knowledge of the "nepenthic" (opium) drug (pharmakon) which he says Helen brought from Egyptian Thebes. Diodorus of Sicily: Book 1.97 The historian Diodorus (1st century BC) also mentions the "nepenthic pharmakon" (opium medicine) calling it the "healing drink", refering to it's pain relieving attributes. Quote: Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has prepared the feast, mixed her wine. Come, eat of my bread and drink the wine I have mixed. Proverbs 9: 1,2 and 5 This verse from Proverbs refers to "mixed wine". I have not found the word "nepenthes" in the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) but it could be implied in this verse from Proverbs. Some people would object, but it must be kept in mind that the social acceptance of wine but not opium originates at the turn of the 19th-20th century as a consequence of alcohol prohibition. The most critical of opium among the classical writers seems to have been Pliny the elder (1st century AD): Quote: From the dark poppy a soporific is obtained by making incisions in the stalk... They recommend that the incision be made beneath the head and calyx... Poppy juice however being copious thickens, and squeezed into lozenges is dried in the shade; it is not only a soporific (sleep inducing), but if too large a dose be swallowed the sleep even ends in death. It is called opium. In this way, we are told, died at Bavilum in Spain the father of Publius Licinius Caecina, a man of praetorian rank, when an unbearable illness had made life hateful to him... Afterwards, however, it's use was not disapproved of in the form of the famous drug (medicamento) called diacodion. The seed too pounded into lozenges with milk is used to induce sleep, also with rose oil for headache... I myself, however, should disapprove of it's addition to eye salves... The dark poppy is given in wine for coeliac trouble... The poppy is boiled and the liquid drunk for sleeplessness... The best poppies grow on dry soils, and where the rainfall is slight. When the heads and leaves are boiled down the juice is called meconium and is much weaker than opium. Pliny: Natural History, Book 20. 198-203 Pliny states that "if to large a dose" is swallowed all at once it could be fatal. This is correct. It is possible to overdose on raw opium. The book "Drugs and Narcotics in History" edited by Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich state "A toxic dose of raw opium must be ten times larger than an equivalence of morphine for fatal effects. Morphine was first isolated from raw opium in 1817" (page 12). It should also be noted that it is possible to overdose on alcohol if too large a quatity is consumed rapidly, all at once. Dosage is a factor that must be considered. Pliny's mention of the praetorian who had an unbearable illness and thus couldn't live any longer sounds like euthanasia. Pliny also disapproved of opium in eye salves. But he does approve of it as a remedy for sleeplessness and coliac trouble. He calls it the "famous drug (medicamento)" as Theophrastus does, And he cites the weaker meconium, thus recognizing "potency" as a factor to be considered in addition to "dosage". Quote: The Lord created medicines (pharmaka) from the earth. He who is wise will not despise them. Sirach 38: 4 This verse from Sirach might also be refering to the poppy, or at least include it. Pharmaka is plural, and verse 7 says the pharmaka takes away pain (ponon). Dioscorides in his Materia Medica describes opium as something that takes away pain. Notice that none of these writers from antiquity demonizes the opium poppy as is so common in our time. I will show later that this "alcohol is okay, but drugs are bad" mentality is completely modern and arose as a consequence of alcohol prohibition in the late 19th - early 20th century. PHARMAKON MEANS "DRUG ENCHANTMENT": A 19TH CENTURY INVENTION Let's look at that definition in Strongs Dictionary of the Greek New Testament again: Quote: 5331. pharmakeia; from 5332; medication ("pharmacy"), i.e. (by extension) magic (literal.or figurtive.): sorcery, witchcraft. 5332. pharmakeus, from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell giving potion); a druggist ("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. (by extension.) a magician: sorcerer. 5333. pharmakos; the same as 5332: sorcerer. James Strong: Dictionary of the Greek Testament This definition from Strongs Dictionary of the Greek Testament does not conform to what is found in ancient Greek writings, whether it's early christian, medical writings, Josephus, or any of the other classical Greek or Roman writers. Strongs definition originates in the late 1800s. Other bible Lexicons, published between about 1870 and 1920, sometimes give the definition "enchantment with drugs" for the words pharmakeia and pharmakeus. This is likewise misleading and is not found in earlier lexicons or commentaries, written before the late 1800s. "A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament" by Edward Robinson (1794-1863), published 1850 does not define pharmakeia, pharmakeus or pharmakos as "enchantment with drugs". This 1850 lexicon cites the usages of those Greek words in Josephus, Polybius, Plutarch and Xenophon, which are quoted above. The word means either medicine or poisoning, depending on the "context". Robinson's 1850 lexicon does not confuse medicine and poison as Strong's dicionary does. The "Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul" by John Locke, published around 1700, states "pharmakeia (Gal 5:20) signifies witchcraft or poisoning". Locke, writing at the turn of the 17th-18th century, does not define pharmakeia as "drug enchantment". Martin Luther, writing in the 16th century, does not make any reference to "drugs or drug enchantment" in his commentaries on Galatians 5:20 where pharmakia is used. Early christian documents, such as the Didache or Shepherd of Hermas do not define pharmakeia or pharmakon as drug enchantment, nor does Tertullian where he uses the Latin venefico. In fact, I have found no lexicon or commentary prior to the late 1800s that defines pharmakeia in Galatians or Revelation as "drug enchantment". Also, the word "witchcraft" is an English word from Middle English wicche, Old English wicca, which most likely comes from the Latin "venefica" which means a "poisoner". The earliest complete English Bible was done by John Wycliffe in 1382 and was based entirely on the Latin Bible, not Greek. In Revelation 9:21 veneficiis becomes witchecraftis, and veneficis becomes witchis in Revelation 21:8. So, the notion that pharmakeia means "enchantment with drugs" originates in bible lexicons and dictionaries published between about 1870 and 1920. What event or movement would influence this new found definition? FROM THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC TO THE DRUG TRAFFIC James Strong was a prohibitionist who lived in the 1800s. In order to understand how we got drug prohibition, we must first understand the rise of alcohol prohibition which began about the time of John Wesley in the 1700s. The following is a letter from James Madison, fourth president of the United States, concerning the prohibition issue: Quote: The task of abolishing altogether the use of intoxicating, and even exilarating drinks, is an arduous one... A complete suppression of every species of stimulating indulgence, if attainable at all, must be a work of peculiar difficulty... And where all these sources of excitement have been unknown, or been totally prohibited by a religious faith, substitutes have been found in opium, the betel nut, ginseng root, and tobacco leaf. ---------------- "James Madison, letter to Thomas Hertell, December 20, 1809" So, according to Madison, the fourth president of the United States and one of the founders of the U.S. constitution, there does not seem to be a real moral difference between intoxicating drinks on the one hand and opuim or ginseng root on the other. Interesting he does not mention hemp (cannabis), which, along with opium, was not illegal at that time. Quote: In 1837 Neal Dow, who had inherited from his Quaker upbringing a strong opposition to the liquor traffic, established, with the backing of leading Protestant ministers, the Maine State Temperance Society. It's purpose was to control the policy of the state legislature in matters dealing with the liquor evil. --------------------- "Church and State in the United States by Anson Stokes and Leo Pfeffer" Here we have the early stages of the prohibition movement which set out to abolish the "liquor traffic". James Strong (1822-1894) was a "prohibitionist". He is best known today for his Bible Concordance and Dictionary, but in his life time he was well known for his "Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature". In Volume 10 under the heading "Temperance Reform" he wrote: Quote: The Asiatic peoples bear the burden of evil caused by indulgence in opium and the hemp intoxicant. Thus Europe and America groan under the woes inflicted by alcohol... Vice, crime, pauperism, public evils, and public burdens of every kind multiply in direct proportion to the prevalence of the alcohol habit. What are usually called the dangerous classes in our cities are its creation... In 1835 Rev. George B. Cheever published under the title of 'Deacon Giles Distillery', what purported to be a dream: Demons were represented as working in the deacon's distillery, and manufacturing "liquid damnation"... in another dream concerning 'Deacon Jones's Brewery', in which devils are described as making beer... At this present time (January, 1880)... The iniquities of the traffic have been urged upon the attention of the legislatures of the states... Experience has shown that where prohibitory legislation is fully sustained by public sentiment the liquor traffic can be stamped out as thoroughly as any other form of crime. ------------------ "Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (Vol 10), "Temperance Reform", by John McClintock and James Strong" The section on "Temperance Reform" is 6 pages long. Only a few sentences are devoted to opium, hemp, coca leaf and tobacco. The remaining 5 3/4 pages are devoted to the evils of the "liquor traffic". Typical of prohibition literature from that time. In 1872 James Strong was a lay delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. The "Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals" (established in 1888) of the Methodist Episcopal church was once a leading organization in the alcohol prohibition movement. It's 1920 constitution read: Quote: "The object of this board is to promote voluntary total abstinence from all intoxicants and narcotics, to enforce existing statutory laws and constitutional provisions that suppress the liquor traffic and to secure the speedy enactment of such legislation throughout the world" -------------------- "The World Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1923" Observe that the prohibitionist were not content with abolishing the liquor traffic in only America. They wanted prohibition "throughout the world"! Quote: In 1893 the Anti-Saloon League was organized. Largely as a result of it's efforts, a wave of prohibitory legislation began in 1907, so that by 1919 thirty three states had by statute or constitutional provision that prohibited the liquor traffic. -------------------- "Church and State in the United States by Anson Stokes and Leo Pfeffer" At the beginning of the 20th century as more and more states went "dry", the "American Brewers Association" published this: Quote: Cocaine now ranks with whiskey as the chief provocative of rape and it's consequent lynching bee in the South... Already among the "fiends" and the policeman who have to deal with them there is talk of "the new field". The phrase comes from the dealers in drugs... The brutalized negroes of the South who are being denied easy access to liquor by the prohibition movement are turning to drugs as a substitute. The use of opium, cocaine and other such drugs is largely on the increase all over the United States, especially in localities where the sale of liquor is prohibited. One of these days it may occur to the American people that they are paying to high a price for prohibition. ------------------ "A Text Book of True Temperance by M. Monahan, published 1911 by the 'United States Brewers Association'" This 1911 publication by the "United States Brewers Association" has little or no basis in fact. It was a social/political argument which tries to demonize opium and cocaine in order to take pressure off the beer industry. Eight years later the 18th amendment to the U.S. constitution was ratified. The book "Prohibition and Christianity" by John Erskine (copyrighted 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927) was once a popular book against alcohol prohibition. The author records a conversation he had with a group of clergyman, who were in favor of alcohol prohibition: Quote: One of my hearers, a clergyman of distinction in his community asked whether there had not always been a tendency to remove from the field of choice anything that had been proved beyond question harmful; whether we did not take away from people such poisons as opium; and whether we should not logically prohibit liquor, now that science had proved it harmful? I replied that I did not believe science had proved alcohol to be harmful in the sense that opium is. But he evidently believed that liquor was in the same category of viciousness as opium. ----------------- "Prohibition and Christianity by John Erskine, 1927, page 20-21" Erskine was a "wet". The protestant prohibitionist (the "drys") put alcohol and opium in the same category. Saying that "opium is vicious", a position taken by the wets, has no basis in fact or science. It's a social/political argument from the alcohol prohibition era when it was "criminal" to sell, manufacture or transport intoxicating beverages. In other words, make opium look bad so that beer and wine can look better. It is interesting that the book does not mention cannabis, which was still legal in many states. In 1929 William Randolph Hearst began a contest, with a $25,000 prize, to anyone who could come up with a plan to promote temperance and end the governmental abuses caused by alcohol prohibition (18th amendment and Volstead Act). More than 71,000 people entered the contest. The $25,000 prize went to Judge Franklin Chase Hoyt. Here is what he wrote: Quote: Let congress repeal the Volstead act and substitute a law defining the words "intoxicating liquors" (in the 18th amendment) as "all alcoholic products of distillation".... The word "liquor" in the past was very generally applied to distilled spirits in contradistinction to fermented products. ...I believe that the prohibition question would disappear from national politics and that traffic in distilled liquor would eventually come to be regarded as shameful as that in drugs and narcotics -------------------- "Temperance or Prohibition: The Hearst Temperance Contest Committee, 1929" At that time many people did not think the 18th amendment could be repealed and so were trying to redefine the term "intoxicating beverages" in the amendment. Also "naturally fermented beverages" were distinguished from "distilled spirits". Also observe how the "liquor traffic" would be in the same category as the "drug traffic"! Four years later the government did repeal the 18th amendment. The government prohibition agencies were not abolished, however. They shifted over to the recently formed "Federal Bureau of Narcotics" (FBN). So law enforcement now moves from fighting the "liquor traffic" into fighting the "narcotics traffic". The following is a Hearst newpaper editorial from 1935: Quote: Much of the opposition to the Uniform State Narcotic Law must be imputed to the unscrupulous opposition of racketeering interest. One thing that the indolent legislatures should be made to understand is that the "dope" traffic does not stand still. In recent years, the insidious and insanity producing marijuana has become among the worst of the narcotic banes. -------------------- "The Marijuana Convicton by Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread, 1974, reprinted 1999, page 100-101" And that is the beginning of the 1930s reefer madness. The unemployed prohibition agents, who once busted up distillary's, can now have a job eradicating "ditch weed". Three decades later (1960s) there was the "media sensation" around the drug LSD. Some have noted that the media frenzy around LSD preceded the passage of the "Controlled Substances Act" and the establishment of the DEA (formerly the FBN) during the Nixon era. This article appeared in a christian magazine in 1970: Quote: The increase in drug abuse has soared in the past few years. Hardly a day goes by that somewhere we do not hear or read of the influence of drug addiction. "Trips", "pot parties", "rock festivals with their accompanying use of drugs", make the headlines of our newspapers.... There is even talk of legalizing marijuana. Pharmakeia (the misuse of drugs) has boiled to the surface and with it have come the bitter fruits of addiction, insanity, suicide, crime, and immorality of all sorts ------------------ "Truth Magazine, December 10, 1970" And this is were "pharmakeia means mind altering drugs" has its beginning. It's a spin off from the media hype about LSD in the 1960s. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was discovered about 1940. The word "psychedelic" was coined in the 1950s to descibe LSD's effects. "Psychedelic" comes from two Greek words, "psuche" and "delos" which mean literally "mind manifesting". Hence the phrase "mind expanding", popular in the 1960s. Then later "mind altering", a term used indiscriminately by drug warriors. Notice the progression in the last 200 years. The early 1800s was the beginning of the suppession of the "liquor traffic". Opium and coca leaf are sort of like a small addendum to the "iniquities of the liquor traffic" by the late 1800s when the prohibition movement was gaining much momentum. The early 1900s was the beginning of the demonization of opium and cocaine by the "wets" in order to divert pressure away from the liquor industry. The wets finally win and alcohol prohibition declines from the 1930s onward, but is immediatly followed by "marijuana prohibition". 30 years later (1960s) the hype around LSD leads to the expansion of government drug prohibition with passage of the Controlled Substances Act and the establishment of the DEA. In the 1980s the "Office of National Drug Control Policy" is established. And that is how we got drug prohibition with all it's "abuses" of power, which is where we are today. And Strongs Bible Dictionary (first published in the 1880s) is still widely used. And with the advent of the internet we can now find a prolifiration of websites that tell us "witchcraft in the bible is from pharmakeia which means using drugs". Do tell! And by the way, do you know who James Strong said those "spell casting witches; those drug enchanters" really were: Quote: In 1835 Rev. George B. Cheever published under the title of 'Deacon Giles Distillery', what purported to be a dream: Demons were represented as working in the deacon's distillery, and manufacturing "liquid damnation"... in another dream concerning 'Deacon Jones's Brewery', in which devils are described as making beer, and as they dance about the cauldron, chanting the spell of the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth: Round about the caldon go In the poisoned entrails throw DRUGS that in the coldest veins Shoot incessant pains Herbs brought from hells back door Do their business slow and sure The dreams were published everywhere, and produced great effect... Mr Delavan exposed the methods of the Albany Brewers ------------------ "Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (Vol 10), "Temperance Reform", by John McClintock and James Strong" I don't believe I need to say anything else. It's a long read, but very good!