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Sula Benet (also known as Sara Benetowa; 1903—1982) was a Polish anthropologist of the 20th century who studied Polish and Judaic customs and traditions.
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Born in Poland, Benet was fascinated with peasant culture of Poland since her early youth. This interest eventually led her to enroll as a student of literature and philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities in the University of Warsaw but graduated with a degree in anthropology. Upon receiving her degree in 1935, she attended graduate school at Columbia University, where she received her doctorate in 1944.
Benet's writings have gained modern notability for her interpretations of the herb known as kaneh-bosm or kneh-bosm mentioned in the Old Testament and how it may relate to religious use of cannabis. Kaneh-bosm was mentioned in the Old Testament as part of the holy anointing oil used in the temple and has historically been interpreted as calamus. Through comparative etymology and analysis of ancient texts, Benet asserts that the word kaneh-bosm actually refers to cannabis and was used in ancient Jewish religious rites, possible as an intoxicant. Pro-cannabis advocates cite Benet's work as an example that cannabis use has a long culturally important history, and that the criminalization and demonization of cannabis is a recent invention. While Benet's conclusion regarding the psychoactive use of cannabis is not universally accepted among Jewish scholars, there is general agreement that cannabis is used in talmudic sources to refer to hemp fibers, as hemp was a vital commodity before linen replaced it. 
According to Benet's research, cannabis appears in ancient Hebrew texts spelled with the Hebrew letters: “Kuph, Nun, Hé Bet, Shin, Mem,” translated into western alphabetic forms as ¹aneh-bosm, kaneh-bosm or kineboisin. The book of Exodus records the event of Moses receiving the instructions for making and distributing the hemp enriched holy oil, in the most auspicious tones.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of qaneh-bosm, 500 shekels of cassia--all according to the sanctuary shekel--and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil” (Exodus 30: 22-33).  
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sula_Benet". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|