Circumcision controversy in early Christianity

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According to the Hebrew Bible, circumcision was enjoined upon the biblical patriarch Abraham, his descendants and their slaves as "a token of the covenant" concluded with him by God for all generations, as an "everlasting covenant".[1]

The Council of Jerusalem[2] during the Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity did not include religious male circumcision as a requirement for new gentile converts. This became known as the "Apostolic Decree": "But to still the clamours of the converts from Pharisaism who demanded that the Gentile converts "must be circumcised and be commanded to observe the Law of Moses", the matter was discussed in a public meeting. ... By the decree of the Apostles the cause of Christian liberty was won against the narrow Judaizers, and the way smoothed for the conversion of the nations. The victory was emphasized by St. Paul's refusal to allow Titus to be circumcised even as a pure concession to the extremists (Galatians 2:2–5)." It may be one of the first acts differentiating early Christianity from Judaism.[3]

Circumcision has played an important role in Christian history and theology; the circumcision of Jesus is celebrated as a feast day in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations, while Paul's teaching that physical circumcision was unnecessary for membership in the new covenant was instrumental in the separation of Christianity from Judaism.[4][5] In some Eastern Christian denominations male circumcision is an established practice,[6][7][8] and males are generally required to be circumcised shortly after birth as part of a rite of passage.[6] Circumcision is widely practiced in many Christian countries and communities.[9][7]

Background[edit]

There are numerous references in the Hebrew Bible to the obligation for circumcision[10] and the uncircumcised are to be cut off from the people in Genesis 17:14.[11]

During the 1st century BC there was a controversy in Judaism relating to whether or not a proselyte who was already circumcised needed to be ritually re-circumcised. This is done via a pinprick creating a drop of blood and is still practiced to this day.

A similar controversy between the Shammaites and the Hillelites is given (Shab. 137a) regarding a proselyte born circumcised: the former demanding the spilling of a drop of blood of the covenant; the latter declaring it to be unnecessary. The rigorous Shammaite view, voiced in the Book of Jubilees (l.c.["in the place cited"]), prevailed in the time of King John Hyrcanus, who forced the Abrahamic rite upon the Idumeans, and in that of King Aristobulus, who made the Itureans undergo circumcision (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, xiii. 9, § 1; 11, § 3). According to Esther 8:17, Septuagint,[12] the Persians who, from fear of the Jews after Haman's defeat, "became Jews," were circumcised.[13]

1st and 2nd century AD Judaism[edit]

Jewish sources vary on whether or not circumcision of proselytes was a universal practice in tannaitic times.[14]

The issue between the Zealot and Liberal parties regarding the circumcision of proselytes remained an open one in tannaitic times[13]

The disagreement centers on the correctness of contradictory passages in the Babylonian Talmud and Jerusalem Talmud and which passage is older.[14] B. Yevamot 46a is summarized as follows:

Rabbi Joshua says that if a proselyte is immersed but not circumcised this is valid. Because our mothers were immersed but not circumcised. Rabbi Eliezer says the opposite. Because such was found regarding our fathers. However the sages say both are required.[14]

P. Kiddushin 3:12 (3:14, 64d) is summarized as follows:

Rabbi Eliezer says only circumcision is required the same as in B. Yevamot 46a. Rabbi Joshua says both are required.[14]

During tannaitic times uncircumcised semi-converts also existed, see God-fearer and Ger toshav.[14]

Circumcision of Jesus[edit]

Circumcision of Jesus, sculpture in the Cathedral of Chartres.

According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth, in accordance with Mosaic Law.[15]

Mosaic Law in Early Christianity[edit]

Similar differences and disputes existed within Early Christianity, but disputes within Christianity extended also to the place of Mosaic Law or Old Covenant in general in Christianity. This is particularly notable in the mid-1st century, when the circumcision controversy came to the fore. Alister McGrath, an intellectual historian and proponent of paleo-orthodoxy, claims that many of the Jewish Christians were fully faithful religious Jews, only differing in their acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah.[16] As such, they tended to be of the view that circumcision and other requirements of the Mosaic Law were required for salvation. Those in the Christian community who insisted that biblical law, including laws on circumcision, continued to apply to Christians were pejoratively labeled Judaizers by their opponents and criticized as being elitist and legalistic.[17]

Council of Jerusalem[edit]

Icon of James the Just, who issued the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:19–21) at the Council of Jerusalem, c. 50 AD.

The Council of Jerusalem[18] of about 50 AD was the first meeting in early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, but it was conscious that the issue had wider implications, since circumcision is the "everlasting" sign of the covenant of the pieces.[19] Jewish culture was still trying to find its place in the more dominant Hellenistic culture which found circumcision to be repulsive.[20]

The decision of the Council, called the Apostolic Decree,[21] was that most Mosaic Law, including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for gentile converts. The Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against "fornication" and "idol worship".[22] There is a view that 'strangled' and 'blood' in the texts refer to foreskin conditions - paraphimosis and ruptured frenulum, respectively.[23] Beginning with Augustine of Hippo,[24] many[citation needed] have seen a connection to Noahide Law, while some modern scholars reject the connection to Noahide Law and instead see Leviticus 17 as the basis.[25]

The Decree is one of the first acts differentiating the Church from its Jewish roots,[26] though a similar dispute was taking place at the same time within Judaism, but which came to a contrary conclusion.

Teaching of Paul[edit]

Artist depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas). Most scholars think Paul actually dictated his letters to a secretary.[27]

While the issue was theoretically resolved, it continued to be a recurring issue among Christians. After the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the issue, which had become a serious controversy in their region. There was a burgeoning movement of Judaizers in the area that advocated adherence to traditional Mosaic laws, including circumcision. According to McGrath, Paul identified James the Just as the motivating force behind the movement. Paul considered it a great threat to his doctrine of salvation through faith and addressed the issue with great detail in Galatians 3.[28][29]

Paul, who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles", attacked the practice, although not consistently. In the case of Timothy, whose mother was a Jewish Christian but whose father was Greek, he personally circumcised him "because of the Jews" that were in town.[30][31] He also appeared to praise its value in Romans 3:1-2.[32]

Two interpretations exist of Paul's comment on those wanting to force circumcision on Gentile Christians in Galatians 5:12. The King James Version reading "I would they were even cut off"[33] suggests cut off from the Church, but most modern versions, following scholars such as Lightfoot, R. C. H. Lenski and F. F. Bruce, read as the English Standard Version "I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!"[34] due to a reading of the Greek text apokopsontai[35] "be cut off" as Paul wishing that the circumcisers would castrate themselves.[36] This parallels κατατομή katatomē. Eusebius reported that the early Christian Origen did in fact castrate himself, although following Matthew 19:12.[37][38]

Paul argued that circumcision no longer meant the physical, but a spiritual practice (Romans 2:25–29), and 1 Corinthians reads: "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised." (1 Corinthians 7:18)

Later Paul more explicitly denounced the practice, rejecting and condemning those who promoted circumcision to Gentile Christians. Paul warned that the advocates of circumcision were "false brothers".(Gal 2:4) He accused Galatian Christians who advocated circumcision of turning from the Spirit to the flesh: "Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal 3:3) He accused advocates of circumcision of wanting to make a good showing in the flesh (Gal 6:12) and of glorying or boasting of the flesh. (Gal 3:13) Some believe Paul wrote the entire Epistle to the Galatians attacking circumcision and any requirement for the keeping of Jewish law by Christians, saying in chapter five: "Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all." (Galatians 5:2)

In a late letter he warned Christians to "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision," (κατατομή, katatomē)[39] saying that Christians were the true circumcision because they worshipped in the Spirit of God. (Phil 3:2–3)

Florentine Bechtel notes in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910): Judaizers:

Paul, on the other hand, not only did not object to the observance of the Mosaic Law, as long as it did not interfere with the liberty of the Gentiles, but he conformed to its prescriptions when occasion required (1 Corinthians 9:20). Thus he shortly after circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:1–16:3), and he was in the very act of observing the Mosaic ritual when he was arrested at Jerusalem (Acts 21:26).[40]

Later views[edit]

According to Acts, Simon Peter condemned required circumcision of converts.[41] When the various passages from the New Testament regarding circumcision are gathered together, a strongly negative view of circumcision emerges, according to Michael Glass.[42] Some Biblical scholars think that the Epistle to Titus, generally attributed to Paul, but see Authorship of the Pauline epistles, may state that circumcision should be discouraged among Christians,[43] though others believe this is merely a reference to Jews. Circumcision was so closely associated with Jewish men that Jewish Christians were referred to as "those of the circumcision"[44][45] or conversely Christians who were circumcised were referred to as Jewish Christians or Judaizers. These terms (circumcised/uncircumcised) are generally interpreted to mean Jews and Greeks, who were predominate, however it is an oversimplification as 1st century Iudaea Province also had some Jews who were not circumcised, and some Greeks (called Proselytes or Judaizers) and others such as Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Arabs who were.

A common interpretation of the circumcision controversy of the New Testament was, that it was over the issue of whether Gentiles could enter the Church directly or ought to first convert to Judaism. However, the Halakha of Rabbinic Judaism was still under development at this time, as the Jewish Encyclopedia[46] notes: "Jesus, however, does not appear to have taken into account the fact that the Halakha was at this period just becoming crystallized, and that much variation existed as to its definite form; the disputes of the Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai were occurring about the time of his maturity." This controversy was fought largely between opposing groups of Christians who were themselves ethnically Jewish, see section Jewish background above. According to this interpretation, those who felt that conversion to Judaism was a prerequisite for Church membership were eventually condemned by Paul as "Judaizing teachers".

The source of this interpretation is unknown; however, it appears related to Supersessionism or Hyperdispensationalism (see also New Perspective on Paul). In addition, modern Christians, such as Ethiopian Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox still practice circumcision while not considering it a part of conversion to Judaism, nor do they consider themselves to be Jews or Jewish Christians.

The Jewish Encyclopedia article on Gentile: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah[47] notes the following reconciliation:

R. Emden, in a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his appendix to "Seder 'Olam" (pp. 32b-34b, Hamburg, 1752), gives it as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law — which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath.

Contemporary practices[edit]

Today, many Christian denominations are neutral about ritual male circumcision, not requiring it for religious observance, but neither forbidding it for cultural or other reasons.[48] Covenant theology largely views the Christian sacrament of baptism as fulfilling the Israelite practice of circumcision, both being signs and seals of the covenant of grace.[49][50]

Since the Council of Florence, the Roman Catholic Church forbade the practice of circumcision among Christians; Roman Catholic scholars, including John J. Dietzen, David Lang, and Edwin F. Healy, argue that "elective male infant circumcision not only violates the proper application of the time-honored principle of totality, but even fits the ethical definition of mutilation, which is gravely sinful."[51] Roman Catholicism generally is silent today with respect to its permissibility, though elective circumcision continues to be debated amongst theologians.[52] The Roman Catholic Church currently maintains a neutral position on the practice of cultural circumcision, as the church has a policy of inculturation.[52]

Coptic Children wearing traditional circumcision costumes.

The practice, on the other hand, is customary among the Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, and also some other African churches,[6][53] and males are generally required to be circumcised shortly after birth as part of a rite of passage.[6] The Ethiopian Orthodox Church calls for circumcision, with near-universal prevalence among Orthodox men in Ethiopia. Eritrean Orthodox practice circumcision as a rite of passage, and they circumcise their sons "anywhere from the first week of life to the first few year".[54] Some Christian churches in South Africa oppose circumcision,[citation needed] viewing it as a pagan ritual, while others, including the Nomiya church in Kenya,[53][55] require circumcision for membership, despite St. Paul's warnings against those who required circumcision for salvation, in his epistle to the church of Galatia.[56][57]

The Greek Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church do not advocate circumcision among their adherents, but celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on 1 January,[58][59] while Orthodox churches following the Julian calendar celebrate it on Gregorian 14 January. The Orthodox Church considers it one of the twelve "Great Feasts". In the Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican churches, the commemoration of the circumcision of Christ has been replaced by other commemorations, such as the Feast of the Holy Name in the Lutheran Churches and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in the Catholic Church.[60][61]

Even though mainstream Christian denominations do not require the practice and maintain a neutral position on it,[62] it is widely practiced in many Christian countries and communities.[9][63][7][64] Both religious and non-religious circumcision is common in some predominantly Christian countries such as the United States,[65] but outside of the Jewish and Muslim communities, not for reasons of religious observance; see circumcision controversies. It may be significant that Jewish applicants to American medical schools comprised 60% of all applications in the 1930s, at a time when circumcision was becoming popular in the US.[66] Circumcision is common in the Philippines,[67][68] South Korea, Australia,[69] and Canada.[70] Circumcision is near universal in the Christian countries of Oceania[71] and in North, East and West Africa and it is common in countries such as the Cameroon,[70] Democratic Republic of the Congo,[70] Ethiopia,[70] Eritrea,[70] Ghana,[70] Liberia,[70] Nigeria[70] and Kenya,[70] and is also widely practiced among Christians from Egypt,[72] Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and North Africa. Circumcision is less common in Europe, East Asia and Latin America. It is practiced amongst some Christians in the Indian subcontinent.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [Genesis 17:13]
  2. ^ A description is found in Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15, but see also Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
  3. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Baptism: "According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; 'Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d). Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal" (Schlatter, "Die Kirche Jerusalems," 1898, p. 70). But as circumcision was discarded by Christianity, and the sacrifices had ceased, Baptism remained the sole condition for initiation into religious life. The next ceremony, adopted shortly after the others, was the imposition of hands, which, it is known, was the usage of the Jews at the ordination of a rabbi. Anointing with oil, which at first also accompanied the act of Baptism, and was analogous to the anointment of priests among the Jews, was not a necessary condition."
  4. ^ Jacobs, Andrew (2012). Christ Circumcised: A Study in Early Christian History and Difference. United States: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812206517.
  5. ^ Bolnick, David; Koyle, Martin; Yosha, Assaf (2012). "Circumcision in the Early Christian Church: The Controversy That Shaped a Continent". Surgical Guide to Circumcision. United Kingdom: Springer. pp. 290–298. ISBN 9781447128588. In summary, circumcision has played a surprisingly important role in Western history. The circumcision debate forged a Gentile identity to the early Christian church which allowed it to survive the Jewish Diaspora and become the dominant religion of Western Europe. Circumcision continued to have a major cultural presence throughout Christendom even after the practice had all but vanished.... the circumcision of Jesus... celebrated as a religious holiday... [has been] examined by many of the greatest scholars and artists of the Western tradition.
  6. ^ a b c d N. Stearns, Peter (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. Oxford University Press. p. 179. ISBN 9780195176322. Uniformly practiced by Jews, Muslims, and the members of Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, male circumcision remains prevalent in many regions of the world, particularly Africa, South and East Asia, Oceania, and Anglosphere countries.
  7. ^ a b c R. Peteet, John (2017). Spirituality and Religion Within the Culture of Medicine: From Evidence to Practice. Oxford University Press. pp. 97–101. ISBN 9780190272432. male circumcision is still observed among Ethiopian and Coptic Christians, and circumcision rates are also high today in the Philippines and the US.
  8. ^ Pitts-Taylor, Victoria (2008). Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 394. ISBN 9781567206913. For most part, Christianity dose not require circumcision of its followers. Yet, some Orthodox and African Christian groups do require circumcision. These circumcisions take place at any point between birth and puberty.
  9. ^ a b Gruenbaum, Ellen (2015). The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780812292510. Christian theology generally interprets male circumcision to be an Old Testament rule that is no longer an obligation ... though in many countries (especially the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, but not so much in Europe) it is widely practiced among Christians
  10. ^ Leviticus 12:3 says: on the eighth day a boy is to be circumcised.
  11. ^ Genesis 17:14
    Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
  12. ^ Brenton's translation of Esther in the Septuagint 8:17: "in every city and province wherever the ordinance was published: wherever the proclamation took place, the Jews had joy and gladness, feasting and mirth: and many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and became Jews, for fear of the Jews."
  13. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision" Circumcision of Proselytes
  14. ^ a b c d e Lawrence H. Schiffman (1985). Who was a Jew?. Library of Congress Cataloging. Manufactured in the United States of America. pp. 32–38. ISBN 9780881250541. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  15. ^ Luke 2:21–24
  16. ^ McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief — that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
  17. ^ McGrath, page 174: "Paul notes the emergence of a Judaizing party in the region — that is, a group within the church which insisted that Gentile believers should obey every aspect of the law of Moses, including the need to be circumcised. According to Paul [reference is made to Galatians, but no specific verse is given], the leading force behind this party was James ... the brother of Jesus ..."
  18. ^ Acts 15
  19. ^ Genesis 17:9–14
  20. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons."; Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. PMID 11568485. S2CID 29580193. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  21. ^ Acts 15:19–21
  22. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's Commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third 731 forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
  23. ^ Douglas E. "JQuad". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  24. ^ Contra Faust, 32.13
  25. ^ For example: Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Yale University Press (December 2, 1998), ISBN 0-300-13982-9, chapter V
  26. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Baptism: "According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; 'Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d). Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal" (Schlatter, "Die Kirche Jerusalems," 1898, p. 70). But as circumcision was discarded by Christianity, and the sacrifices had ceased, Baptism remained the sole condition for initiation into religious life. The next ceremony, adopted shortly after the others, was the imposition of hands, which, it is known, was the usage of the Jews at the ordination of a rabbi. Anointing with oil, which at first also accompanied the act of Baptism, and was analogous to the anointment of priests among the Jews, was not a necessary condition."
  27. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. p. 316-320. Harris cites Galatians 6:11, Romans 16:22, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 19. Joseph Barber Lightfoot in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians writes: "At this point [Galatians 6:11] the apostle takes the pen from his amanuensis, and the concluding paragraph is written with his own hand. From the time when letters began to be forged in his name (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:17) it seems to have been his practice to close with a few words in his own handwriting, as a precaution against such forgeries... In the present case he writes a whole paragraph, summing up the main lessons of the epistle in terse, eager, disjointed sentences. He writes it, too, in large, bold characters (Gr. pelikois grammasin), that his handwriting may reflect the energy and determination of his soul."
  28. ^ Galatians 3
  29. ^ McGrath (2006). Pp 174-175
  30. ^ Acts 16:1–3
  31. ^ McGarvey on Acts 16: "Yet we see him in the case before us, circumcising Timothy with his own hand, and this 'on account of certain Jews who were in those quarters.'"
  32. ^ {{bibleverse||Romans|3:1-2|NIV
  33. ^ Galatians 5:12
  34. ^ Galatians 5:12
  35. ^ ὄφελον καὶ ἀποκόψονται οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες ὑμ
  36. ^ Thomas Marberry, Robert E. Picirilli, Daryl Ellis Galatians through Colossians 1988 p90 "The main problem concerns the meaning of the phrase "I would they were even cut off. ... often used to describe some type of bodily mutilation such as castration (Lightfoot 207; Lenksi 272; Bruce, Galatians 238; Arndt and Gingrich 92)."
  37. ^ Matthew 19:12
  38. ^ "Origen of Alexandria". ReligionFacts. 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  39. ^ Strong's G2699
  40. ^ Bechtel, Florentine. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Judaizers" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  41. ^ Acts 15:7–10
  42. ^ The New Testament and Circumcision
  43. ^ Titus 1:10–16
  44. ^ Colossians 3:20
  45. ^ cultural/glass1
  46. ^ article on Jesus Jesus article on Jesus
  47. ^ Gentile: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah
  48. ^ Slosar, J.P.; D. O'Brien (2003). "The Ethics of Neonatal Male Circumcision: A Catholic Perspective". American Journal of Bioethics. 3 (2): 62–64. doi:10.1162/152651603766436306. PMID 12859824. S2CID 38064474.
  49. ^ Clark, R. Scott (17 September 2012). "Baptism and Circumcision According to Colossians 2:11–12". The Heidelblog. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  50. ^ Crowther, Jonathan (1815). A Portraiture of Methodism. p. 224.
  51. ^ Marie, André (26 December 2016). "Circumcision: An Acceptable Practice?". The Catholic Thing. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  52. ^ a b Slosar, J.P.; D. O'Brien (2003). "The Ethics of Neonatal Male Circumcision: A Catholic Perspective". American Journal of Bioethics. 3 (2): 62–64. doi:10.1162/152651603766436306. PMID 12859824. S2CID 38064474. Michael Benatar and David Benatar (2003) identify and insightfully refute two arguments that opponents of neonatal male circumcision use in an attempt to demonstrate the moral illicitness of the practice. The first argument they consider is that circumcision is tantamount to an unjustifiable form of mutilation. The second argument is that, because circumcision is not a strictly therapeutic procedure, parents are not justified in giving consent for it on behalf of their child. As ethicists for a large Catholic health system, we have encountered a third argument opposing the practice, particularly in Catholic hospitals. In short, this argument is that the practice of circumcising male neonates is a violation of the natural law as conceived within the Catholic moral tradition and Church teaching. ... We are unaware of the Catholic Church explicitly addressing the practice of circumcising male infants in any of its official teachings.
  53. ^ a b Customary in some Coptic and other churches, indicating that it has been regionally normative since ancient times:
    • "The Coptic Christians in Egypt and the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians— two of the oldest surviving forms of Christianity— retain many of the features of early Christianity, including male circumcision. Circumcision is not prescribed in other forms of Christianity... Some Christian churches in South Africa oppose the practice, viewing it as a pagan ritual, while others, including the Nomiya church in Kenya, require circumcision for membership and participants in focus group discussions in Zambia and Malawi mentioned similar beliefs that Christians should practice circumcision since Jesus was circumcised and the Bible teaches the practice."
    • "The decision that Christians need not practice circumcision is recorded in Acts 15; there was never, however, a prohibition of circumcision, and it is practiced by Coptic Christians." "circumcision", The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-05.
  54. ^ DeMello, Margo (2007). Encyclopedia of Body Adornment. ABC-Clio. p. 66. ISBN 9780313336959. Coptic Christians, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Eritrean Orthodox churches on the other hand, do observe the ordainment, and circumcise their sons anywhere from the first week of life to the first few years.
  55. ^ Mattson CL, Bailey RC, Muga R, Poulussen R, Onyango T (2005) Acceptability of male circumcision and predictors of circumcision preference among men and women in Nyanza province Kenya. AIDS Care 17:182–194.
  56. ^ Bible: Galatians ch 5 v2
  57. ^ Bible: Galatians ch 6 v15
  58. ^ Sicard, Sigvard von (1970). The Lutheran Church on the Coast of Tanzania 1887-1914: With Special Reference to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Synod of Uzaramo-Uluguru. Gleerup. p. 157.
  59. ^ Greek Orthodox Archdiocese calendar of Holy Days
  60. ^ "Year A 2019/2020" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. p. 5. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  61. ^ For example, "The Calendar of the Church Year" in The (Online) Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church in the United States of America), [1] retrieved 11 October 2006.
  62. ^ S. Ellwood, Robert (2008). The Encyclopedia of World Religions. Infobase Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 9781438110387. It is obligatory among Jews, Muslims, and Coptic Christians. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians do not require circumcision. Starting in the last half of the 19th century, however, circumcision also became common among Christians in Europe and especially in North America.
  63. ^ R. Wylie, Kevan (2015). ABC of Sexual Health. John Wiley & Sons. p. 101. ISBN 9781118665695. Although it is mostly common and required in male newborns with Moslem or Jewish backgrounds, certain Christian-dominant countries such as the United States also practice it commonly.
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  68. ^ Lajous, M; et al. (2006). "Human papillomavirus link to circumcision is misleading (author's reply)". Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 15 (2): 405–6. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-05-0818. PMID 16492939. Circumcision is not usually performed by public sector health care providers in Mexico and we estimate the prevalence to be 10% to 31%, depending on the population.
  69. ^ Richters J, Smith AM, de Visser RO, Grulich AE, Rissel CE; Smith; De Visser; Grulich; Rissel (August 2006). "Circumcision in Australia: prevalence and effects on sexual health". Int J STD AIDS. 17 (8): 547–54. doi:10.1258/095646206778145730. PMID 16925903. S2CID 24396989.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  72. ^ Thomas Riggs (2006). "Christianity: Coptic Christianity". Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices: Religions and denominations. Thomson Gale. ISBN 978-0-7876-6612-5.

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