Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss blood. For more than 1500 years popular imagination, western science and the Christian Church colluded in a belief that blood was the link between the human and the divine. The Greek physician, Galen, declared that it was blood that contained the force of life and linked the body to the soul, the Christian Church established The Eucharist - the taking of the body and blood of Christ. In our blood was our individuality, it was thought, our essence and our blood lines were special. Transfusion threatened all that and now itself is being questioned.Why is it that blood was used to define both man and messiah? And how has the tradition of blood in religious thought been affected by the progress of medicine?

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Miri Rubin 12 episodes
    Professor of European History at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Dr Anne Hardy 4 episodes
    Reader in the History of Medicine at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London
  • Jonathan Sawday 6 episodes
    Professor of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde

Related episodes

Programme ID: p00548ym

Episode page:

Auto-category: 610 (Medicine & health)