Allegro, John (Marco) (1923–1988)
British scholar who assisted in the deciphering of the Dead
Sea Scrolls, and created a sensation with his book The Sacred
Mushroom and the Cross (1970), which suggested that the New
Testament was written in a secret code for the use of a sect built
around the hallucinatory properties of a sacred mushroom
drug. According to Allegro, Jesus never existed and the crucifixion
story was a myth, symbolic of the ecstasy of a drug cult.
In support of this extraordinary theory, Allegro strained
philology, comparative linguistics, and semantics in a manner
that recalled the eccentricities of John Belleden Ker in the
nineteenth century, who wrote several volumes to ‘‘prove’’ that
all British proverbs and nursery rhymes were assonantal equivalents
of High Dutch invectives against the Roman Catholic
Allegro, John. The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. Garden
City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1970.