From Blood Libel to Blood Community

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:
From Blood Libel to Blood Community

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This chapter discusses some responses to the blood libel and then turns to the way Jews incorporated the language of blood into what became one of the main responses to modern anti-Semitism, namely, Jewish nationalism. These two themes may seem as unrelated as the two types of anti-Semitic blood accusations. It claims that they, too, are linked both historically and conceptually. Between the violence of the blood libel and the utopianism of the blood community runs a much darker current: the blood of the Jews spilled in the greatest genocide in human history. It was this, and not the accusations against the Jews, that constituted the real ritual murder of the twentieth century. And if the Nazis irretrievably polluted the concept of a blood community, perhaps their bloody deeds created a very different kind of blood identity: solidarity with the victims.

Keywords: blood libel; modern anti-Semitism; Jewish nationalism; utopianism; genocide; ritual murder

Chapter.  19727 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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