Professor Biale offers new analyses of the different forms of blood in the Bible that interact with the views of leading scholars on these topics such as Mary Douglas and Jacob Milgrom. He argues that political concern to control sacrifice and slaughter by the priests during the Biblical period accounts for the blood discourses in ways that have not been fully appreciated, including the declarations of other rituals as abominations. Blood unifies, blood divides. Biale explores the issue of blood libel and many other dimensions of Jewish- Christian relations that arise in terms of this matter of blood, seeking to understand and explain how two traditions emerged from the same religious milieu in late antiquity with such opposite views, one completely rejecting the consumption of blood, and the other symbolically drinking it through wine as a central sacrament. He also explores the discourse of blood in Nazi anti-Semitism, and how modern Jewish culture adapted and responded in terms of the dominant cultures’ ideas. Through the various players and themes traced from antiquity to the modern period, Biale makes the case that the common denominator is “the control of blood as an index of power.” Bibliography and index.
Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., University of Kansas, is the author of Mysteryof Romans, winner of the 1996 National Jewish Book Award, Charles H. RevsonAward in Jewish-Christian Relations.