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The Blood Covenant

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Book Overview

This is a compilation of lectures that look at ancient religious practices and how they influenced subsequent religions in the Holy Land, such as Christianity. From the preface: "Having an engagement... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Classic reference!

Trumbull breaks new ground in exploring a topic of theological interest which he states 'has been strangely overlooked by biblical critics and biblical commentators generally, in these later centuries.' This is the covenant of blood, a ritual custom of great antiquity and widespread, even universal, pervasiveness. He writes: `The belief seems to have been universal, not only that the blood is the life of the organism in which it originally flows, but that in its transfer from one organism to another the blood retains its life, and so carries with it a vivifying power.' It isn't through literary exploration alone that this 19th-century scholar elaborates his study. He can boast of his own itinerancy in the Near East while recounting the (often dangerous!) expeditions of others anywhere from the Asia to the Americas. As is to be expected across cultures and continents of manifold variegation, the use of the blood in blood-covenant ceremonies is not always the same; it can range anywhere from imbibing to direct physical contact of the openings in the participants, to sprinkling, though it usually consists of some form of intertransfusion. In some cultures a substitutive formula is used such as wine, a symbolism Jesus himself implemented in the institution of the Eucharist. Faint traces of blood-covenant rituals are also found in cultures where no blood is used at all, or any other substitute. The people, however, may be unconscious of the original significance of their practices. All these customs share a common thread: the bond created by the participants in the act is indissolubly strong, stronger even than biological affinity. Why? As Trumbull explains, `the taking in of another's blood was the acquiring of another's life, with all that was best in that others nature.' To violate to the covenant bond was to call against oneself the full fury of cosmic punishment. For instance, those who violated the Mosaic covenant (enacted by sprinkling of animal blood) are said to be `cut off', i.e. their lineage is obliterated through the curse of an untimely death. In sacrificial ritual animal blood, Trumbull points out, takes the place of human blood. The life of the animal is given to God in the lieu of the devotee's. Therefore the blood/life cannot be consumed. Trumbull reminds us, `it is the life (which the blood is), and not the death (which is merely necessary to the securing of blood), of the victim, that is the means of atonement.' And this is the gravity of the sacrifice, in Christian religion, that God made by his son: 'and this', Trumbull states, 'was the truth of truths which he declared to those whom he instructed.'

Blood Covenant

This is the best researched and comprehensive treatment on Blood Covenant that I have seen.

The most definitive book on the Blood Covenant available.

This book is based on a three lecture series that Dr. Trumbull delivered on June 16-18 in 1885 to the Episcopal Divinity School in Philadelphia, PA. That no other book in the past 117 years, on the subject of the Blood Covenant, has equalled or surpassed this book in thoroughness or in scholarship is mute testimony to this book's classic position as THE definitive book on the subject of the Blood Covenant. Dr Trumbull traces the origins of the Blood Covenant, as practiced worldwide, to an early Oriental home in ancient human history (p 57). Along the way, he has shown the development of this covenant from a crude form of uniting two humans or a human and a Divine entity in an unbreakabke bond to a highly stylized rite among the peoples of the world. This book is a must for every Pastor or teacher who wishes to understand the very Covenant that is the underpining of the Christian faith.

A classic text in blood covenants

In researching the literature on blood covenants, the subject of my Master's thesis, I was struck by the dearth of scholarly research on this subject. Most books on this subject were rather shallow, with no real depth to them and little in the way of scholarly input. Dr. Trumbull's classic on the subject of the blood covenants was like a breath of fresh spring air in a very stiffling room. Here was the in-depth scholarship so lacking in the other works reviewed. It seems that no one, in the last hundred years or so has been able to out-perform this classic treatment of the blood covenant. It is not easy reading, but is full of the best scholarship I have found anywhere on this subject.

Thorough Discussion of Blood Covenants

This author not only explains completely and thoroughly blood covenants in the Bible, but also explains blood covenants in different cultures. An in-depth look at blood covenants throughout history is explored. If you want a complete and concise book on blood covenants, this is it. It tends to be very wordy and is not an easy read. This is a book your reading to study, not enjoy or be ministered with.
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