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Blood and BeliefThe Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians$
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David Biale

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520253049

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520253049.001.0001

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Blood and the Covenant

Blood and the Covenant

The Jewish and Christian Careers of a Biblical Verse

(p.44) Chapter 2 Blood and the Covenant
Blood and Belief

David Biale

University of California Press

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

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