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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

4 - Blood after the Last Supper

from Part II - Blood Seeps in Where It Hardly Seems to Belong


“Jesus and the Gender of Blood.” Here’s a place blood seeps in where it hardly seems to belong: Crucifixion kills not by blood loss but suffocation. Neither crucifixion nor a common meal requires blood. Hands and feet can be lashed without nails. Why must Jesus bleed? Gospel writers portray Jesus at the Last Supper as mobilizing the language of blood to transform a structure of violent oppression – crucifixion – into a peaceful feast. The image of the Woman with a Flow of Blood, read as dysmenorrhea, recognizes a kinship: three gospels identify both the woman and Jesus with their bleeding, as leaky. The stories feminize Jesus by turning his blood away from male-gendered violence and toward female-gendered purposes of new life and rebirth. Reflections on the Eucharist and taboo.

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