Are christians allowed to eat blood sausages?

by TheWonderofYou 6 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • TheWonderofYou

    This text is an edited google translation by me of a german article by Detlef Löhde. The article has also a lutheran aspect in it. (the bible quotations are taken in English from the NABRE, while in the german original the Luther-bible is used)

    „The conclusion of the Jehovah's Witnesses that the Apostle Council also forbids medical blood transfer, borders on the absurdity.“

    Are christians allowed to eat blood sausages? Are christians only allowed to eat like Jews slaughtered animals? Meaning of the Apostolic Council?

    To one who has not yet dealt with the question, it may seem almost ridiculous. But in Acts Chapter 15, 19-21 and 29, as well as in Chapter 21, 25 is written that the apostles, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have imposed on the Christians who came from the Gentile nations to abstain from idols, from blood, from strangled animals and fornication. How is the decision of the Apostolic Council to understand?


    The Orthodox churches of the East have adopted the text of most New Testament Greek manuscripts[1], to which later also Luther joined: "That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication."

    For the Church of the West until the Reformation and for the Roman Catholic Church until today, the Vulgata is the the binding text of the Bible, which was translated from Greek to Latin approx. 380 - 400 AD. by Hieronymus. He took the few Greek manuscripts as basis, which lack the "suffocated“ and therefore corresponding to that it is also lacking in the dogmatized Latin Vulgate.(Note: The Roman Catholic translation of the Bible into the respective local languages have to orient themselves at the Vulgata, although the Roman-Catholic so-called German ecomenical translation "Einheitsübersetzung" in Acts 15, 29 has also the "suffocated".)

    The followers of the Greek minority texts and of the Vulgata argue that "suffocated" in the majority of Greek handwritings is only a later commenting and misleading addition.

    Thus it is only necessary to clarify what is meant by "abstaining from blood". It was and is interpreted that it meant not to shed human blood. Others interpret that it means not to enter into a marriage with close blood relatives ("incest"), analogue to the Old Testament marriage prohibitions (Deuteronomy 18), to which is also referred to later by Paul (1 Cor. 5, 1-5). If appropriate, the exhortations to abstain from blood and fornication would be in the close mutual commentarial context.

    If, however, one proceeds from the majority of the Greek manuscripts, which speak of the "containment of blood and suffocated," then those both are closely connected. Then the apostolic council presumably oriented itself to Leviticus 17:11-15. James expressly refers to Moses (Acts 15, 19-21). After that, it was not only forbidden to Israel to eat blood and meat of suffocated animals but also to the strangers who lived in the midst of the people of Israel.

    According to the Old Testament, blood is the bearer of life, nay, life itself, and to dispose of it is the sole concern of God (Genesis 9: 4; Leviticus 17:11). And the Son of God does this when he gives us his blood to drink in the Lord's Supper. There he gives us his life and gifts us new eternal life (Jn 6, 53ff.).

    If one thus proceeds from the basis of the text, "abstain from blood and suffocated food," this is to be understood as a prohibition to enjoy fresh blood and flesh with fresh blood in it. (Note: The use of fresh blood can lead to a "bloodlust", comparable to the intoxication of drugs.)

    The term "suffocated food" refers to meat of animals which have not been slaughtered with the knife and have not been bled, but have perished otherwise with its blood in the body (Catch with the snare or carcase, cf Genesis 17, 3.17. In certain pagan religions the sacrificed animals were not slaughtered, but strangled.)

    An animal slaughtered with the knife, whose meat naturally loses almost all blood, is thus not a "suffocated food"! Even with a stabbing of the heart or today's usual slaughter with a bolt shot device, the killed animal still exsanguinated.

    The legal provision of the Jewish Talmud (written from the 2nd to the 8th century AD), according to which the prohibition of eating no suffocated food is only followed when the animal is "slaughtered properly kosher" (throat section and the still living animal bleeds to death), is a typical exaggeration of the Pharisaic-rabbinical theology, which had already begun in the time of Jesus (cf Mt 23:23).

    However, in this view the processing of the blood discharged after the slaughter to sausage remains problematic. The old church and the Roman Catholic church have banned this until the 12th century, the Eastern Orthodox churches to this day.

    Meaning of the apostolic council for the first greek gentile christian communities namely for that of Antioch

    After this inventory, the question of what the decision of the apostolic council at that time meant for the first gentile-christian communities, namely that of Antioch, is to be asked. The apostolic council did not follow the temptation of Judaist circles that the Gentile Christians must submit themselves entirely to the Jewish law, to be circumcised, and to comply with Jewish purity and dietary laws. With Christ this is all fulfilled and has an end (Rom 10: 4, Galatians 5, 1).

    The Jewish Christians, however, had probably still aquired the behaviour to feel revulsion, repugnance, and disgust at eating of blood. Presumably, they did not wan to touch the disposal of God over any blood as the bearer of life.

    Therefore the Gentile Christians will in regard and love (to the Jewish), to give no cause for an offence of conscience and annoyance, and for the sake of fellowship, forgo drinking and eating blood and bloody flesh. There should be a full, undisturbed table-fellowship between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Not the food, but reprehensible behaviors lead to the failure of the table-fellowship (1 Cor. 5, 11).

    The Apostle Paul goes one step further personally and writes: "But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak.g Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin."(1 Cor. 8: 9.13 NABRE). ( The NABRE has a good comment for this passage.)

    The decision of the apostolic council was, therefore, an outflow of consideration and the law of love. It was also properly understood. It is said, when the church of Antioch received the letter with the decision of the Apostles, they were glad about the encouragement (Acts 15, 30.31). (Emphasis mine)

    The behavioral directives may therefore not have been regarded as a burden, especially with regard to the demands of the Judaists that the Gentile Christians should submit themselves to the whole Jewish law with circumcision, and to all provisions of food and purity.

    Only a small renunciation was required by the Gentile Christians, while the Jewish Christians had to overcome a far higher hurdle with the tolerance of meat-eating of unclean animals, for example, of pork (compare Acts 10, 10 ff.) Emphasis mine)

    As mentioned the demand was to forgo the eating of blood and of suffocated meat of animals, an outlet of the love-offer for the sake of fellowship, and not an old or a renewed dietary law. Jesus clearly said that what does defile man is not what comes in the mouth, but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). And the Apostle Paul constantly struggled for liberty in Christ and against all Judaistic-legal demands, especially with the letters to the Romans and the Galatians.

    On the subject, he writes, (Col. 2:16)- " Let no one, then, pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink" (1 Cor. 8: 8). "Now food will not bring us closer to God.“

    It also speaks for itself that the prohibition to eat blood and bloody flesh is mentioned in the whole New Testament only once. One of the first catechism-like ordinances, the Diadache, written in the middle to the end of the first century, mentions the prohibition of idolatry, but no longer addresses the question of the consumption of blood and suffocated. The directive of the apostolic council was due to the unique historical situation.

    This raises the question whether the directive of the Apostolic Council is still binding for us today. We are no longer in the situation of the tensions and emotions between newly-converted Gentile Christians and newly-converted Jewish Christians, just as the question of the idolatry does not concern us directly.

    The conception that the prohibition of the consumption of blood and suffocated animals was valid only in terms of time and situation, are shared by the various confessional churches (the Eastern Orthodox Churches, limited). The conclusion of the Jehovah's Witnesses that the Apostle Council also forbids medical blood transfer, borders on the absurd.

    The Confessions of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in the Augsburg Confession (CA) and their Apology address very much to the question of biblical and new Roman-church-lawful ceremonial and dietary laws. In Art. 28 CA is stated that (straightened): "The apostles have commanded that one should abstain from the blood and from the suffocated meat. But who's holding it now? But still they who do not keep it do not sin; For the apostles did not want to complain the consciences with such servitude, but have forbidden it for a time for the sake of annoyance. It is necessary to exercise caution with regard to this statute, and to observe the principal part of the Christian doctrine, which is not abolished by this apostolic decree. "

    See also the subject: Has God forbidden certain foods?

    Detlef Lohde


    [1] Majority text is the texttradition that leans on the majority of the manuscripts, this tradition is testified mostly by greek manuscript from the bycantine empire, abbr. „Byz“ ,{\displaystyle {\mathfrak {M}}}short

  • stillin

    That guy seems pretty smart. I always figured that, since blood is classed in with fornication, there must be something appealing about it. But for the life of me, I can't see the attraction!

  • scratchme1010

    ...since blood is classed in with fornication, there must be something appealing about it.

    Maybe it's the sausage part.

  • Alostpuppydog

    As someone who reverted from the JW's back to being reformed Jew, I would align eating blood with say spiritualism i.e. trying to attract demons and if not in this context, then rather a disdain or a defiance against YHWH's law set for mankind to not eat blood.

    However, as far as blood transfusions go, I find no reason against it and no reason for it to be seen as any different than an organ transplant.

    That being said, I find the refusal of blood transfusions to be something detestable to YHWH and even in direct contradiction with the 'Commandment: Thou shall not murder'. The reason I would state this is because it would be found to be an act of suicide by the refuser and anyone insighting for such a thing to be guilty of murder just as anyone encouraging abortion is as well.

    This was 'one' of the major FLAGS I found when studying with the Jdubs. And I am happy to say I will accept a blood transfusion if it were to save my life and to help me further worship my Hod YHWH. 👌


  • Vanderhoven7

    Thanks for posting this.

  • TheWonderofYou

    I found something curious in the Latin Vulgate,

    while I checked if "suffocated" really was not in Jeromes latin translation as the quote in my OP reads and I found out that in the new Vulgate-versions "suffocated" doesn not lack at all. Here is an example.

    Acts 15,20

    Or another digitalized full text of the vulgate


    Now I am curious to find out if any older version of the Vulgate has the suffocated in it. There is a Codex, the Codex Amiatinus, which is seen as the earliest surviving MM of the nearly complete Latin Vulate translation. and is considered to be the most accurate copy of St. Jerome's text. So i will try to find the digitalized version. Please press your thumbs that I find it.

    Codex Amiatinus

    Unfortunately, the dedication page was altered, but the librarian Angelo Maria Bandini managed to reconstruct the history of the book enough to suggest that the author was Servandus, a follower of St. Benedict, and that the Codex Amiatinus was produced in the Monte Cassino Abbey around the 540s, thus making this copy the oldest among those of the Vulgata. German scholars, though, noted that it is remarkably similar to a text from the 9th century.


    Did Jerome who lived mainly in Rome already know the people who produced the Codex Vaticanus, which is also from the same century - 4th- and which has Alexandrian text type. Codex Vaticanus was presumeably written in Ceasarea, Egypt...... Moment was not the Codex Vaticanus also produced for the Ceasar as gift? And was not the Vulgate also translated for the Ceasar as gift? ..No sorry for bishop Damasius. Again many questions.

    As Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire in the first centuries after Christ, it became necessary to produce Latin versions of the Bible for those not able to understand the Greek of the New Testament or Septuagint.

    The first translations were made by individual Christians for use within their own community. These are known as the Old Latin or Vetus Latina.

    Towards the end of the fourth century, Pope Damasus asked the scholar Hieronymus (St. Jerome) to produce a revised version of the Gospels. Along with Jerome's translation of the Old Testament, an anonymous revision of the rest of the New Testament, and a handful of books from other sources, these later became the standard version, the Vulgate.

    The Vulgate took many years to become established as the principal Latin Bible. In the meanwhile, the Old Latin versions continued to be used. Some of these translations are preserved in Bible manuscripts, in the writings of the Church Fathers and in early Christian liturgies.

    These texts are of great significance for the history of the early Church and the transmission of the Bible. Most of the Old Latin translations were made from Greek manuscripts which no longer exist. Although the Latin texts have undergone their own process of transmission, the original layer preserves a witness to the Bible, especially the New Testament, which would otherwise be lost to us. The language and history of these documents also provides information on the social background of early Christian communities and the spread of the Church.

    Damasus had instructed Jerome to be conservative in his revision of the Old Latin Gospels, and it is possible to see Jerome's obedience to this injunction in the preservation in the Vulgate of variant Latin vocabulary for the same Greek terms. Hence, "high priest" is rendered princeps sacerdotum in Vulgate Matthew; as summus sacerdos in Vulgate Mark; and as pontifex in Vulgate John. Comparison of Jerome's Gospel texts with those in Old Latin witnesses, suggests that his revision was substantially concerned with redacting the expanded phraseology characteristic of the Western text-type, in accordance with Alexandrian, or possibly early Byzantine, witnesses.

    Given Jerome's conservative methods, and that manuscript evidence from outside Egypt at this early date is very rare; these Vulgate readings have considerable critical interest. More interesting still—because effectively untouched by Jerome —are the Vulgate books of the rest of the New Testament; which demonstrate rather more of supposed "Western" expansions, and otherwise transmit a very early Old Latin text. Most valuable of all from a text-critical perspective is the Vulgate text of the Apocalypse, a book where there is no clear majority text in the surviving Greek witnesses.

  • TheWonderofYou

    The original Manuscript is obviously not free to obtain.

    But I found a transcription made by Constantin Tischendorf: again with "suffocatis"!

    Why does my OP than say that Jerome translated the bible without "suffocated"? I should have checked this before, I was gullible.

    Either Jerome really used about 420 a manuscript with the writing "suffocated - PNIKTOU

    or someone had to change Jerome's Vulate before it was about 540 in the Codex Amiatinus text recorded.

    That sounds not reasonable at all and why should that have been necessary at all?

    Codex Amiatinus by Conrad Tischendorf, page 210

    This book is free

    Tischendorf was the guy who discovered the oldest bible the Codex Sinaiticus in the Catherine Monastery at Mt. Sinai, was he not?

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