Study Guide

Snow Crash Chapter 30

By Neal Stephenson

Chapter 30

  • Hiro asks the Librarian what the tree thing is, and learns that it's a totem of the goddess Asherah. Apparently there are versions of this goddess in a lot of different mythologies. Her name translates into Eve and she has snakey connotations.
  • A lot of ancient peoples worshiped Asherah, until a bunch of Jews decided to get rid of her. They reformed their laws through Deuteronomy, which served as an inoculation against the Asherah virus.
  • In this sense, any religion is like a virus, using the human brain as a host.
  • The Librarian compares the Asherah virus to herpes simplex, which is a virus that moves into the nervous system and just never leaves; the two may even be related.
  • Further, Asherah worship involved cult prostitutes, so there'd be bodily fluids spreading the virus too. Mmm, virus-lovin'.
  • There's more talk of how this all relates to Adam and Eve (Eve was like another version of Asherah, but the story itself might've been a political allegory invented to warn off enemies). Even better, there's biblical evidence that a king of Jerusalem figured out how to poison the army of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, before he could assault Jerusalem. Viruses and poisons, sounds like fun.