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Bloody Sweat

BLOODY SWEAT

(swet hosei thromboi haimatos):

Described in Luke 22:44 as a physical accompaniment of our Lord's agony at Gethsemane (on the passage, which is absent in some manuscripts, see Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek). Many old writers take this to mean that the perspiration dropped in the same manner as clots of blood drop from a wound, regarding the Greek word prefixed as expressing merely a comparison as in Matthew 28:3, where leukon hos chion means "white as snow." Cases of actual exudation of blood are described in several of the medieval accounts of stigmatization, and Lefebvre describes the occurrence of something similar in his account of Louise Lateau in 1870. For references to these cases see the article "Stigmatization" in Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), XXII, 550. It is perhaps in favor of the older interpretation that the word used by Aeschylus for drops of blood is stagon (Agam. 1122) and by Euripides stalagmos, not thromboi. None of the instances given by Tissot (Traite des nerfs, 279), or Schenck (Observ. med., III, 45:5), can be said to be unimpeachable; but as the agony of our Lord was unexampled in human experience, it is conceivable that it may have been attended with physical conditions of a unique nature.

Alex. Macalister


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BLOODY SWEAT'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.