most of the worship beyond Israel was idolatrous and most of the meat came from
idol temples. These temples commonly provided dining areas for others, includ-
ing non-idolaters, to have a feast with, or buy, meat left over from ceremo-
"Paganism in the Roman Empire," 1981, by Ramsey MacMullen, pp.37,41, and
(Special thanks to Jerry Bergman,Ph.D., whose book "Blood Transfusions,"
1994, supplied the information and research sources for the rest of this page.)
Commonly, pastoral and nomadic groups (and Semitic people were nomadic people
for most of their early history) throughout most of recorded history have eaten
blood. (An animal--horse, cow, sheep--could be bled regularly, and in some ar-
eas food otherwise, or fuel for cooking, was scarce. Also, by not building
fires for cooking, nomadic groups could better keep their whereabouts unknown
to others--others who could be hostile or intended as victims.
"Foods in History," 1973, by Reay Tannahill, pp.130,131 (revised and updated
Blood has also been regarded as a medical cure for illnesses since 2,000
years before Christ, when blood transfusions were attempted by the ancient
Egyptians. Ancient Syrians and Jews tried it, too, and it wasn't uncommon in
Christ's time. (GTW note: they may have attempted it, but I'm guessing it
didn't work so hot. If it isn't a myth, I'm guessing blood was drawn and the
other drank it, so would be better categorized scripturally as "eating" blood.)
The belief in blood's regenerative qualities is ages old and has been world-
wide; for most of the centuries since 2,000 years ago, various cultures be-
lieved that it cured leprosy, for example.
"Flesh and Blood, A History of the Cannibal Complex," 1975, by Reay Tannahill,
"The Illustrated History of Surgery," 1988, by Kurt Haeger
In Roman times, Pliny, who lived in the apostolic age, and Arataus, in the
2nd century, noted that blood was a treatment for epilepsy. Tertullian (145-
220 AD) noted that some people had a "greedy thirst" for human blood to cure
"How Can Blood Save Your Life?" 1990, a JW tract, p.6
Pagan cultures taught that the fight, wisdom, etc., of an animal were trans-
ferred to the one who ate it while it was still alive.
"The Jewish Dietary laws," 1967,1972, by Dayan I. Grunfeld; also see
"Flesh and Blood," 1976, Reay Tannahill, pp.6-9,21-24
Many Jewish people believed that blood carried instincts and traits which
were transferred to the one who ate it. (They also thought it partly explained
their blood rules and why the more carnivorous animals were ruled out of their
"Moreh Nebukhim" ("The Guide for the Perplexed"), 1190 AD, by Maimonides
"The Jewish Dietary Laws," 1967, by Dayan I. Grunfeld, pp.8,9,82
Roman men would enter the arena to drink some of the blood of defeated glad-
iators due to the same belief.
"God, Blood, and Society," 1972, A.D.Farr, p.11; see pp.91,92 of "Blood
Transfusions" by Jerry Bergman, 1994