Blood and the Covenant

David Biale

in Blood and Belief

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780520253049
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934238 | DOI:
Blood and the Covenant

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This chapter focuses on Geller's trajectory, according to which the priestly religion culminates in Christianity and the Deuteronomic in rabbinic Judaism, arguing instead that elements of each can be found in both religions. Emerging rabbinic Judaism and Christianity fought mightily against paganism and its blood sacrifices, they inherited a sacred text and sacrificial practices in which the power of the physical substance of blood played a central role. Each for its own reasons had at once to preserve and neutralize these blood traditions, turning them into memorials of past sacrifices and promises of future ones. However, late antique Judaism and Christianity found in martyrdom a new blood ritual with its own redemptive potential. In the struggle for power between Jews and Christians each used their own interpretations of blood as a way of asserting their chosenness by God. Although, both traditions transformed the blood of the covenant into something very different from what it meant in the Bible.

Keywords: Geller's trajectory; blood sacrifices; Christianity; rabbinic Judaism; Bible

Chapter.  16889 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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