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Durham e-Theses
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The meaning and use of the term "blood“in scripture

Gaisford, John S. (1975) The meaning and use of the term "blood“in scripture. Masters thesis, Durham University.



There have been two, seemingly opposed, schools of thought about the interpretation of "blood" in Scripture. It is held to signify either "life” or "death". This thesis demonstrates the possibility of effecting a synthesis between these interpretations, showing that both ideas must be present. Each occurrence of "blood" has been analysed and divided between sacrificial and non-sacrificial categories. Frequency of occurrence has been carefully considered to determine its implication for statistical evidence. An introduction discusses its significance in primitive societies, showing that it was regarded as the vehicle of life, with an awe-inspiring potency, requiring elaborate taboos and ritual. Old Testament sacrificial contexts indicate a similar belief that the use of blood is carefully regulated because it is the prerogative of God and equals "life" or "life released", whereas in non-sacrificial contexts it signifies "life" or "death" equally. A "Hebrew mind", therefore, requires a synthesis which accommodates both interpretations. In establishing this synthesis it is demonstrated that while some who hold the "blood equals death" theory reject any other interpretation, those who claim that basically "blood equals life" accept that both concepts can be present. A, M, Stibb's criticism of Westcott and others is refuted and his own conclusions questioned. In the analysis of the New Testament use of the term both concepts are again fully present. In non-sacrificial contexts "blood" clearly means "death”, but in sacrificial and eucharistic contexts "life" or "life surrendered" is implied. In discussing the sacrifice of Christ, it is argued that "the blood of Christ" means the life of Christ released by death, offered to G-od and received back by man. Death and life are inextricably connected but the emphasis must be on life surrendered and made available for man’s redemption

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:44

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