The most influential religious historian of the twentieth century, Huston Smith, once referred to it as the “best-kept secret” in history. Did the ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same secret tradition? A profound knowledge of visionary plants, herbs, and fungi passed from one generation to the next, ever since the Stone Age?

This discussion on Febrary 1, 2021, between CSWR Director Charles Stang and Brian Muraresku about his new book, “The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name,” a groundbreaking dive into the role of psychedelics in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Brian C. Muraresku graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in 2002 with a degree in Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. As an alumnus of Georgetown Law and a member of the New York Bar, he has been practicing law internationally for fifteen years. In arbitration with the NFL in 2018, Muraresku represented the first professional athlete in the United States to seek a therapeutic use exemption for cannabis. Their story was featured by Sanjay Gupta on CNN’s Weed series. The Immortality Key was published by St. Martin’s Press in September 2020. Muraresku launched his instant bestseller on The Joe Rogan Experience and has now appeared on CNN, NPR, Sirius XM, goop and The Weekly Dish with Andrew Sullivan. He has been featured in Forbes, The Daily Beast, Big Think and VICE. All media to date is available here: Muraresku lives outside Washington D.C. with his wife and two daughters.

Charles Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought at HDS and is the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions. His most recent book, “Our Divine Double,” was published in 2016 by Harvard University Press. His earlier book, “Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite: ‘No Longer I’ “(Oxford University Press, 2012), won the Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise in 2013. Stang is also editor of “The Waking Dream of T.E. Lawrence: Essays on His Life, Literature, and Legacy” (Palgrave, 2002); with Sarah Coakley, “Rethinking Dionysius the Areopagite” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009); with David Lincicum and Ruth Sheridan, “Law and Lawlessness in Early Judaism and Christianity” (Mohr Siebeck, 2019). Stang’s current projects include an anthology of Syriac Christian literature, a new translation of Evagrius of Pontus’s Gnostic Trilogy from Greek and Syriac, and an edited volume on Theosophy’s influence on the study of religion.



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