Skip to the main content

Original scientific paper

The Notion of Blood in the Old Testament: Blood That Purifies and Blood That Defiles

Dalibor Kraljik orcid id ; Biblical institute, Zagreb

Full text: english pdf 196 Kb

page 7-30

downloads: 287



The central notion explored in this article is the notion of blood and its role, meaning, and significance in the Old Testament. The author tries to answer how blood can be seen as the means of purification or consecration in some Old Testament contexts, but elsewhere as a polluting or defiling substance, and offers a two-level answer. On the first level of his thesis, he believes the context of the functioning of blood to be prescribed by God, while on the second level, attempting to explain the mentioned claim, he argues that regarding blood there exists a certain dichotomy of life and death. Namely, when blood ultimately represents life, it functions as a means of purification and consecration, and when it ultimately represents death, it becomes the substance that pollutes or defiles. To support his thesis, the author gives interpretations and conclusions about the theological implications of certain Old Testament texts and the accompanying examples which point to them. The article is divided into two basic parts. The first part presents the notion of blood in the Old Testament through themes of the blood–life relation, the prohibition of eating of blood, and the place of blood in the Old Testament sacrificial system. The second part is an analysis of specific Old Testament examples showing blood that purifies and consecrates or blood that defiles and pollutes.


blood; sacrifice; sacrificial system; Old Testament; nephesh, eating of blood; the life of all flesh is its blood; purification; consecration; pollution; defilement; life; death

Hrčak ID:



Publication date:


Visits: 550 *