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THE reception accorded to the first edition of this work was unexpectedly gratifying. Both the freshness and the importance of its field of research were cordially recognized by biblical scholars on both sides of the water; and a readiness to accept more or less of the main outline of its hypothesis of symbolisms in their application to biblical theology, was shown by exegetes and theologians to an extent quite unanticipated. Of course, there have been questionings of its positions, at one point or another; and it is in view of some of the more prominent criticisms that a few supplemental facts are now given-in addition to fresh material on the general subject of the volume.

Perhaps the most important exceptions taken to the proffered proofs of the linkings of the primitive blood-covenant with the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and of the New, are: (1) “That there is a wide step between a union made by the inter-transfusion of blood, and the union made by substitute blood, whether sprinkled on both parties, as at Sinai, or poured in the sacrifice of a victim whose flesh is eaten as a symbol of sharing the life and the nourishment of Deity;" (2) That "the covenant union in sacrifice was represented by eating the flesh of the victim, not by sprinkling the blood;" (3) "That in the heathen world there is no satisfactory evidence that the desire to participate in the divine nature lay at the basis of animal sacrifice." 1 To the meeting of these exceptions a portion of this supplementary matter is addressed.

1 These three points of exception are taken by three prominent members of the American Company of Old Testament Revisers, and therefore are worthy of special attention.


It would appear that the more primitive form of blood-covenanting is by the intermingling, or the inter-drinking, of the blood of the two parties making the covenant. It would also appear that time and circumstances have, in many cases, so modified this primitive mode, as to admit of the use of substitute blood as the means of inter-union; and of a mutual blood-anointing or blood-sprinkling as a symbolic-if not indeed a realistic-equivalent of blood-mingling. Illustrations of this gradation, all the way along, have been given in the preceding pages;1 but if proof at any point be still counted lacking, there is ample material for its supply.

For example, in portions of Madagascar the same people solemnize the rite of blood-covenanting, at one time by drinking the mingled blood of the two parties to the covenant, and at another time by the two parties drinking in common the fresh blood of a substitute animal; the compact and the bond of union being counted the same, whether wrought by substitute or by personal blood. Of this fact, the Rev. James Sibree, Jr., of the London Missionary Society, an exceptionally careful and scholarly observer, bears abundant testimony.2 Ordinarily "the ceremony consists in taking a small portion of blood from the breast or side," which "is mixed with other ingredients," the mixture being "stirred up with a spear-point, and then a small portion swallowed by each of the contracting parties." The relation thus formed is termed by the Malagasy Fàto-dra,3 or "bound by blood," and Mr. Sibree designates it "Brotherhood by Blood Covenant." Partaking of each other's blood, he says, “they thus become of one blood." But in some cases, as he illustrates by the record of "the French traveler, M. Grandidier," who "became a brother

1 Compare the accounts of the rite in China, in India, in Borneo, and among the American Indians, at pp. 52, 137 f., 154, 323, 339, etc.

2 See Sibree's The Great African Island, pp. 223-226.

3 This seems to be the word which Ellis (Hist. of Mad., I., 187, cited at page 44 supra) mistook for Fatrida or Dead Blood."

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by blood with Zoména, a chief of the Tanòsy, in the southwest of Madagascar," the unifying blood is from a substitute animal. "In this case [of Grandidier and Zoména] the blood was not taken from the contracting parties, but from an ox sacrificed for the purpose." The rite, as described by M. Grandidier,1 was similar to that described by Ellis, in his History of Madagascar, and it included the drinking by Grandidier and Zoména of the blood of the substitute ox.


It is to be borne in mind that among the Malagasy, as among the Aryans, and the proto-Semites, the ox has a semi-sacred character, and is looked upon as in a peculiar sense belonging to or representing Deity.3 Hence, for the two covenanting parties to partake together of the blood, which is the life, of a sacred ox, is to bring them into a common higher life through their sharing a new and a diviner nature.

Again, in a work on the family ties in Early Arabia, by Professor W. Robertson Smith, issued a little later than the first edition of The Blood Covenant, there is evidence of a corresponding use of substitute blood as a means of inter-union of life among the Semites. Showing that the closest and most sacred of alliances in Arabia were based on the idea of "unity of blood," Professor Smith says that a primitive "covenant in which two groups promised to stand by each other to the death (ta'âcadû 'ala 'l-maut), that is, took upon them the duties of common blood-feud (Ibn Hishâm, I., 125), was originally. accompanied by a sacramental ceremony, the meaning of which was that the parties commingled their blood. A covenant of alliance

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and protection was based upon an oath. Such an oath was necessarily a religious act; it is called casâma (Diw. Hodh., lxxxvii, cxxviii), a word which almost certainly implies that there was a reference to the god at the sanctuary before the alliance was sealed, and that he was made

1 In Bull. de la Soc. de Géog., Fev. 1872, p. 144; cited in Sibree's The Great African Island, p. 223 f.

2 Cited at pp. 44-48, supra. 3 See Sibree's The Great Afr. Island, pp. 271-274.

▲ Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 47-50.

a party to the act.

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At Mecca, within historical times, such a life and death covenant was formed between the group of clans subsequently known as 'blood-lickers' (la 'acat al-dam). The form of the oath was that each party dipped their hands in a pan of blood and tasted the contents."

He refers to certain other forms of covenanting at Mekkeh, as "by taking zemzem water [water taken from the sacred well] and washing the corners of the Ka'ba [the holy shrine] with it, after which it was drunk by the [covenanting] parties;" and, again, as by two parties "dipping their hands in a pan of perfume or unguent, and then wiping them on the Ka'ba, whereby the god himself became a party to the compact"; and of these forms he says: "All these covenants are Meccan and were made about the same period, so that it is hardly credible that there was any fundamental difference in the praxis. We must rather hold that they are all types of one and the same rite, imperfectly related and probably softened by the narrator. The form in which blood is used is plainly the more primitive or the more exactly related, but the account of it must be filled up by the addition of the feature that the blood was also applied to the sacred stones or fetishes at the corners of the Ka'ba. And now we can connect the rite with that described in Herodotus iii. 8, where the contracting parties draw each other's blood and smear it on seven stones set up in the midst. Comparing this with the later rite we see that they are really one, and that Herodotus has got the thing in its earliest form, but has omitted one trait necessary to the understanding of the symbolism, and preserved in the Meccan tradition. The later Arabs had substituted the blood of a victim [a beast] for human blood, but they retained a feature which Herodotus had missed: they licked the blood as well as smeared it on the sacred stones. Originally therefore the ceremony was that known in so many parts of the world, in Cited at p. 62 f., supra.

1 See p. 11, supra.

3 Elsewhere Herodotus (IV., 70) describes the method of covenanting among the Scythians, by the drinking of each other's blood. See p. 61 f., supra.

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