In the extreme variety of meanings and religious values attributed to blood in various historical and cultural contexts, its relationship with that of a being’s living force is one of the most widespread and fundamental. It is well known how in the OT tradition there exists an identification between blood and soul anima, from which derives the prohibition of the consumption of the blood of animals. In relation to sacrificial rites, it performs an important function in the same tradition, and it has multiple significations as a means of expiation and purification, while it represents one of the chief ritual elements that converges in the stipulation of the covenant between God and the people see Ex 24:6-7.
In the Christian perspective, the blood of Christ acquired a central role in salvation, in its expiatory function, and in its impact on the sacramental level of the eucharistic rite. With respect to the evangelists, it was primarily John who insisted on the relationship of the continuity between the Passover sacrifice and the death of Christ, which comes to be likened, therefore, to the new Passover Jn 19:31-37. It was simultaneously placed as the “founding” of the new people of God, the church, whose chief sacraments baptism and Eucharist were prefigured in the blood mixed with water flowing from the side of the crucified one. These essential themes provided the basis for the theological and mystical meditation of Christian authors on the value and meaning of Christ’s blood as an instrument of redemption.
EC 10, 1778-1780; Dizionario enciclopedico di spiritualità, II, Roma 1975, 1657-1658; var. aus., Sangue e antropologia biblica, ed. F. Vattioni, I-II, Rome 1981; var. aus., Sangue e antropologia biblica nella Patristica, ed. F. Vattioni, I-II, Rome 1982; vol. III, Rome 1983; var. aus., Sangue e antropologia nella liturgia, ed. F. Vattioni, I-III, Roma 1984; var. aus., Sangue e antropologia nella liturgia, ed. F. Vattioni, I-III, Rome 1987; var. aus., Sangue e antropologia nella teologia, ed. F. Vattioni, I-III, Rome 1989.