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Religion and circumcision

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Religious circumcision is generally performed shortly after birth, during childhood, or around puberty as part of a rite of passage. Circumcision for religious reasons is most frequently practiced in Judaism and Islam.

Abrahamic religions



1824 illustration from Lipník nad Bečvou

The brit milah (Hebrew: בְּרִית מִילָה, Modern Israeli: [bʁit miˈla], Ashkenazi: [bʁis ˈmilə]; "covenant of circumcision") or bris (Yiddish: ברית, Yiddish: [bʁɪs]) is the ceremony of circumcision in Judaism and Samaritanism, during which the foreskin is surgically removed.[1] According to the Book of Genesis, God commanded the biblical patriarch Abraham to be circumcised, an act to be followed by his male descendants on the eighth day of life, symbolizing the covenant between God and the Jewish people.[1] Today, it is generally performed by a mohel on the eighth day after the infant's birth and is followed by a celebratory meal known as seudat mitzvah.[2]

Brit Milah is considered among the most important and central commandments in Judaism, and the rite has played a central role in the formation and history of Jewish civilization. The Talmud, when discussing the importance of Brit Milah, considers it equal to all other mitzvot (commandments).[3] Jews who voluntarily fail to undergo Brit Milah, barring extraordinary circumstances, are believed to suffer Kareth in Jewish theology: the extinction of the soul and denial of a share in the world to come.[4][5][6][7] Judaism does not see circumcision as a universal moral law. Rather, the commandment is exclusive to followers of Judaism and the Jewish people; Gentiles who follow the Noahide Laws are believed to have a portion in the World to Come.[8]

Historical conflicts between Jews and European civilizations have occurred several times over Brit Milah, including multiple campaigns of Jewish ethnic, cultural, and religious persecution, with subsequent bans and restrictions on the practice as an attempted means of forceful assimilation, conversion, and ethnocide, most famously in the Maccabean Revolt by the Seleucid Empire.[7][9][10] "In Jewish history, the banning of circumcision (brit mila) has historically been a first step toward more extreme and violent forms of persecution".[10] These periods have generally been linked to suppression of Jewish religious, ethnic, and cultural identity and subsequent "punishment at the hands of government authorities for engaging in circumcision".[9] The Maccabee victory in the Maccabean Revolt — ending the prohibition against circumcision — is celebrated in Hanukkah.[7][11] Circumcision rates are near-universal among Jews.[12]

Brit Milah also has immense importance in other religions. The Gospel of Luke records that Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, had him undergo circumcision.



Ancient church


The circumcision controversy in early Christianity played an important role in Christian theology.[13][14][15][16]

The circumcision of Jesus is celebrated as a feast day in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations, while the teachings of the Apostle Paul asserted that physical circumcision was unnecessary for the salvation of Gentiles and their membership in the New Covenant.[17][18][19][20][21][22] The first Council of Jerusalem (c. 50) declared that circumcision was not necessary for new Gentile converts[18][23][24] (as recorded in Acts 15); Pauline Christianity was instrumental in the split of early Christianity and Judaism and eventually became Christians predominant position.[25][26] Covenant theology largely views the Christian sacrament of baptism as fulfilling the Jewish practice of circumcision, as both serve as signs and seals of the covenant of grace.[27]

While circumcision is not observed by the majority of Christians in most parts of the Christian world and mainstream Christian denominations do not require circumcision,[28][29][30] it is practiced among some Christian communities.[31][32][33][34] Some Oriental Christian denominations retained the practice,[35][32][28] as part of a rite of passage.[35]

Modern Christianity

"Scène de la circoncision de Jésus", a sculpture in the Cathedral of Chartres.

Circumcision is considered a customary practice among Oriental Christian denominations such as the Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox churches,.[36] The practice is near-universal in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.[37] Some Christian churches in South Africa oppose circumcision, viewing it as a pagan ritual, while others, including the Nomiya church in Kenya,[36][38] require circumcision. It is common in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria.[37]

Ethiopian Orthodox children wearing traditional circumcision costumes

Circumcision is widely practiced in the Anglosphere, Oceania,[39] South Korea, the Philippines, and the Middle East.[40] Circumcision is rare in Europe, East Asia, as well as in India. Christians in the East and West Indies (excluding the Philippines) do not practice it. and is also widely practiced among Christians from Philippines, South Korea,[41] Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and North Africa.

The Lutheran Church and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrate the Circumcision of Christ on 1 January,[42] while Orthodox churches following the Julian calendar celebrate it on 14 January. All Orthodox churches consider it a "Great Feast".[43] In much of Western Christianity, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ has been replaced by other commemorations,[44] such as the Solemnity of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church or the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus in the Lutheran Churches.[45] Exceptions, such as among most Traditionalist Catholics, who reject Novus Ordo and other changes following Vatican II to varying degrees, maintained the feast as a Holy day of obligation.[citation needed]

Roman Catholic Church


The Roman Catholic Church denounced religious circumcision for its members in the Cantate Domino, written during the 11th Council of Florence in 1442, warning of loss of salvation for converts who observe it.[46][47] This decision was based on the belief that baptism had superseded circumcision (Col 2:11–12),[48] and may also have been a response to Coptic Christians, who continued to practice circumcision.[49]

Origen stated in his work Contra Celsum that circumcision "was discontinued by Jesus, who desired that His disciples should not practise it."[50]

Pope Pius XII taught that circumcision is only §"[morally] permissible if, in accordance with therapeutic principles, it prevents a disease that cannot be countered in any other way."[51]

On another occasion, he stated:

Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, that private individuals have no other power over the members of their own bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends: and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any other way render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body.[52]

The Church has been viewed as maintaining a neutral position on the practice of cultural circumcision, due to its policy of inculturation,[53][54] although some Catholic scholars argue that the church condemns it as "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."[46]

Fr. John J. Dietzen, a priest and columnist, argued that paragraph number 2297 from the Catholic Catechism (Respect for bodily integrity) makes the practice of elective and neonatal circumcision immoral.[55] John Paul Slosar and Daniel O'Brien, counter that the therapeutic benefits of neonatal circumcision are inconclusive, but that recent findings that circumcision may prevent disease puts the practice outside the realm of paragraph 2297.[53] They claim that the "Respect for bodily integrity" paragraph apply in the context of kidnapping, hostage-taking or torture, and that if circumcision is included, any removal of tissue or follicle could be considered a violation of moral law.[53] The proportionality of harm versus benefit of medical procedures, as defined by Directives 29 and 33 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (National Conference of Catholic Bishops),[56] have been interpreted to support[53] and reject[57] circumcision. These arguments represent the conscience of the individual writers, and not official doctrine. The most recent statement from the Church was that of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

The Church of Antioch sent Barnabas on a mission with Paul, which became known as the Apostle's first missionary journey . . . Together with Paul, he then went to the so-called Council of Jerusalem where after a profound examination of the question, the Apostles with the Elders decided to discontinue the practice of circumcision so that it was no longer a feature of the Christian identity (cf. Acts 15: 1-35). It was only in this way that, in the end, they officially made possible the Church of the Gentiles, a Church without circumcision; we are children of Abraham simply through faith in Christ.[58]

Latter Day Saints


Passages from scriptures connected with the Latter Day Saint movement (Mormons) explain that the "law of circumcision is done away" by Christ and thus unnecessary.[59][60]



Circumcision is widely practiced by the Druze:[61] practiced as a cultural tradition, and has no religious significance.[62] No special interval is specified: Druze infants are usually circumcised shortly after birth,[63] however some remain uncircumcised until age ten or older.[63] Some Druses do not circumcise their male children, and refuse to observe this "common Muslim practice".[64]



The origin of circumcision in Islam is a matter of religious and scholarly debate.[65][66] It is mentioned in some hadith and the sunnah, but it not in the Quran,[65][66][67][68] though perhaps it is implied by the command to "follow the way of Ibrahim, the true in Faith".[69] In the time of Muhammad, circumcision was carried out by Pagan Arabian tribes,[66][67][68] and by the Jewish tribes of Arabia for religious reasons.[66] This was attested by al-Jahiz[68] and by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.[66][68]

The four schools of Islamic jurisprudence have different views towards circumcision.[67]Some state that it is recommendable, others that it is permissible but not binding, while others regard it as a legal obligation.[66] According to Shafi‘i and Hanbali jurists male circumcision is obligatory for Muslims,[66][67] while Hanafi jurists consider circumcision to be recommendable.[66] Some Salafis have argued that circumcision is required in Islam to provide ritual cleanliness based on the covenant with Abraham.[70]

Whereas Jewish circumcision is closely bound by ritual timing and tradition, Islam states no fixed age for circumcision.[65][68][71] In Muslim communities, children are often circumcised in late childhood or early adolescence.[71] It varies by family, region, and country.[71] The age when boys get circumcised, and the procedures used, tend to change across cultures, families, and time.[71] In some Muslim-majority countries, circumcision is performed after boys have learned to recite the Quran from start to finish.[72] In Malaysia and other regions, the boy usually undergoes the operation between the ages of ten and twelve, and is thus a puberty rite, serving to introduce him in the adult world.[citation needed] The procedure is sometimes semi-public, accompanied with music, special foods, and much festivity.[citation needed]

Islam has no equivalent of a Jewish mohel. Circumcisions are usually carried out in health facilities or hospitals, and performed by trained medical practitioners.[71] The circumciser can be either male or female,[71] and is not required to be a Muslim,[72] and circumcision is not required of converts to Islam.[73]

Indian religions


Hindu canons make no reference to circumcision.[74] Both Hinduism and Buddhism appear to have a neutral view on circumcision.[75] However, Hinduism discourages non-medical circumcision, as according to them, the body is made by almighty God, and nobody has right to alter it without the concern of the person who is going for it.[76] Certain Hindu gurus consider it to be directly against nature and God's Design.[77][78]

Sikh infants are not circumcised.[79] Sikhism criticizes the practice.[80] For example, Bhagat Kabir criticizes the practise of circumcision in the following hymn of Guru Granth Sahib.

Because of the love of woman, circumcision is done; I don't believe in it, O Siblings of Destiny. If God wished me to be a Muslim, it would be cut off by itself. If circumcision makes one a Muslim, then what about a woman? She is the other half of a man's body, and she does not leave him, so he remains a Hindu. Give up your holy Books, and remember the Lord, you fool, and stop oppressing others so badly. Kabeer has grasped hold of the Lord's Support, and the Muslims have utterly failed.

— Bhagat Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib 477[81]



In West Africa, infant circumcision had religious significance as a rite of passage or otherwise in the past; today in some non-Muslim Nigerian societies it is medicalised and is simply a cultural norm.[82] In many West African traditional societies circumcision has become medicalised and is simply performed in infancy without ado or any particular conscious cultural significance.[citation needed] Among the Urhobo of southern Nigeria it is symbolic of a boy entering into manhood. The ritual expression, Omo te Oshare ("the boy is now man"), constitutes a rite of passage from one age set to another.[83]

In East Africa, specifically in Kenya among various so-classified Bantu and Nilotic peoples, such as the Maragoli and Idakho of the Luhya super-ethnic group, the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Maasai, circumcision is a rite of passage observed collectively by a number of boys every few years, and boys circumcised at the same time are taken to be members of a single age set.[84]

Authority derives from the age-group and the age-set. Prior to circumcision a natural leader or Olaiguenani is selected; he leads his age-group through a series of rituals until old age, sharing responsibility with a select few, of whom the ritual expert (Oloiboni) is the ultimate authority. Masai youths are not circumcised until they are mature, and a new age-set is initiated together at regular intervals of twelve to fifteen years. The young warriors (Il-Murran) remain initiates for some time, using blunt arrows to hunt small birds which are stuffed and tied to a frame to form a head-dress. Traditionally, among the Luhya, boys of certain age-sets, typically between 8 and 18 years of age would, under the leadership of specific men engage in various rites leading up to the day of circumcision. After circumcision, they would live apart from the rest of society for a certain number of days. Not even their mothers nor sisters would be allowed to see them.

The Xhosa Tribe from the Eastern Cape in South Africa has a circumcision ritual. The ceremony is part of a transition to manhood. It is called the Abakwetha - "A Group Learning". A group of normally five aged between 16 and 20 go off for three months and live in a special hut (sutu). The circumcision is the climax of the ritual. Nelson Mandela describes his experiences undergoing this ritual in his biography, Long Walk to Freedom.[85][86] Traditional circumcisions are often performed in unsterile conditions where no anesthetic is administered; improper treatment of the wound can lead to sepsis and dehydration, which has in the past lead to initiate deaths.[87][88]

Among some West African animist groups, such as the Dogon and Dowayo, circumcision represents a removal of "feminine" aspects of the male, turning boys into fully masculine males.[39]

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian carved scene of circumcision, from the inner northern wall of the Temple of Khonspekhrod at the Precinct of Mut, Luxor, Egypt. Eighteenth dynasty, Amenhotep III, c. 1360 BC.

Sixth Dynasty (2345 - 2181 BC) tomb artwork in Egypt is thought to be the oldest documentary evidence of circumcision. The most ancient depiction is a bas-relief from the necropolis at Saqqara (ca. 2400 B.C) with the inscription "Hold him and do not allow him to faint". The oldest written account, by an Egyptian named Uha, in the 23rd century B.C, describes a mass circumcision and boasts of his ability to stoically endure the pain: "When I was circumcised, together with one hundred and twenty men ... there was none thereof who hit out, there was none thereof who was hit, and there was none thereof who scratched and there was none thereof who was scratched."[89]

Circumcision in ancient Egypt was thought to be a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. The alteration of the body and ritual of circumcision was supposed to give access to ancient mysteries reserved for the initiated.[90] The content of those mysteries are unclear but are likely to be myths, prayers, and incantations central to Egyptian religion. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, for example, tells of the sun god ra performing a self-circumcision, whose blood created two minor guardian deities. Circumcisions were performed by priests in a public ceremony, using a stone blade. It is thought to have been more popular among society's upper echelons, although it was not universal and those lower down the social order also had the procedure.[91]



In early 2007 it was announced that rural aidpost orderlies in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea were to undergo training in circumcision with a view to introducing the procedure as a means of prophylaxis against HIV/AIDS, which was becoming a significant problem in the country.[citation needed]

Neither the Avesta nor the Zoroastrian Pahlavi texts mention circumcision. Traditionally, Zoroastrians do not practice circumcision.[92] Circumcision is not required in Yazidism, but is practised by some Yazidis due to regional customs.[93]

Circumcision is forbidden in Mandaeism,[94] and the sign of the Jews given to Abraham by God, circumcision, is considered abhorrent.[95] According to the Mandaean doctrine a circumcised man cannot serve as a priest.[96]

Circumcision in South Korea is largely the result of American cultural and military influence following the Korean War.[citation needed]

The origin of circumcision (tuli) in the Philippines is uncertain. One newspaper article speculates that it is due to the influence of Western colonisation.[97] However, Antonio de Morga's 17th-century History of the Philippine Islands documents its existence in pre-Colonial Philippines, owing it to Islamic influence.[98]

Circumcision is not a religious practice of the Bahá'í Faith, and leaves that decision to the parents.[99]



Circumcision is part of initiation rites in some Pacific Island, and Australian aboriginal traditions in areas such as Arnhem Land,[100] where the practice was introduced by Makassan traders from Sulawesi.[101] Circumcision ceremonies among certain Australian aboriginal societies are noted for their painful nature, including subincision for some aboriginal peoples in the Western Desert.[102]

In the Pacific, ritual circumcision is nearly universal in the Melanesian islands of Fiji and Vanuatu;[103] participation in the traditional land diving on Pentecost Island is reserved for those who have been circumcised.[citation needed] Circumcision is also commonly practised in the Polynesian islands of Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and Tikopia. In Samoa, it is accompanied by a celebration.

See also



  1. ^ a b Hirsch, Emil; Kohler, Kaufmann; Jacobs, Joseph; Friedenwald, Aaron; Broydé, Isaac (1906). "Circumcision: The Cutting Away". The Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 13, 2020. In order to prevent the obliteration of the "seal of the covenant" on the flesh, as circumcision was henceforth called, the Rabbis, probably after the war of Bar Kokba (see Yeb. l.c.; Gen. R. xlvi.), instituted the "peri'ah" (the laying bare of the glans), without which circumcision was declared to be of no value (Shab. xxx. 6).
  2. ^ Gollaher, David (2001). Circumcision: A History Of The World's Most Controversial Surgery. United States: Basic Books. pp. 1–30. ISBN 978-0-465-02653-1.
  3. ^ Tractate Nedarim 32a
  4. ^ Harlow, Daniel; Collins, John (2010). "Circumcision". The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-4674-6609-7.
  5. ^ Hamilton, Victor (1990). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 473. ISBN 978-0-8028-2521-6. In fact, circumcision is only one of two performative commands, the neglect of which bring the kareth penalty. (The other is the failure to be cleansed from corpse contamination, umb. 19:11-22.)
  6. ^ Mark, Elizabeth (2003). "Frojmovic/Travelers to the Circumcision". The Covenant of Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite. Brandeis University Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-58465-307-3. Circumcision became the single most important commandment... the one without which... no Jew could attain the world to come.
  7. ^ a b c Rosner, Fred (2003). Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics. Feldheim Publishers. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-58330-592-8. Several eras in subsequent Jewish history were associated with forced conversions and with prohibitions against ritual circumcision... Jews endangered their lives during such times and exerted strenuous efforts to nullify such edicts. When they succeeded, they celebrated by declaring a holiday. Throughout most of history, Jews never doubted their obligation to observe circumcision... [those who attempted to reverse it or failed to perform the ritual were called] voiders of the covenant of Abraham our father, and they have no portion in the World to Come.
  8. ^ Oliver, Isaac W. (2013-05-14). "Forming Jewish Identity by Formulating Legislation for Gentiles". Journal of Ancient Judaism. 4 (1): 105–132. doi:10.30965/21967954-00401005. ISSN 1869-3296.
  9. ^ a b Wilson, Robin (2018). The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-108-41760-0. Jews have a long history of suffering punishment at the hands of government authorities for engaging in circumcision. Muslims have also experienced suppression of their identities through suppression of this religious practice.
  10. ^ a b Livingston, Michael (2021). Dreamworld or Dystopia: The Nordic Model and Its Influence in the 21st Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-108-75726-3. In Jewish history, the banning of circumcision (brit mila) has historically been a first step toward more extreme and violent forms of persecution.
  11. ^ "What Is Hanukkah?". Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center. In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d. ... To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.
  12. ^ Cohen-Almagor, Raphael (9 November 2020). "Should liberal government regulate male circumcision performed in the name of Jewish tradition?". SN Social Sciences. 1 (1): 8. doi:10.1007/s43545-020-00011-7. ISSN 2662-9283. S2CID 228911544. Protagonists and critics of male circumcision agree on some things and disagree on many others... They also do not underestimate the importance of male circumcision for the relevant communities.... Even the most critical voices of male circumcision do not suggest putting a blanket ban on the practice as they understand that such a ban, very much like the 1920–1933 prohibition laws in the United States, would not be effective... Protagonists and critics of male circumcision debate whether the practice is morally acceptable... They assign different weights to harm as well as to medical risks and to non-medical benefits. The different weights to risks and benefits conform to their underlying views about the practices... Protagonists and critics disagree about the significance of medical reasons for circumcision...
  13. ^ Stendahl, Krister (July 1963). "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" (PDF). Harvard Theological Review. 56 (3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School: 199–215. doi:10.1017/S0017816000024779. ISSN 1475-4517. JSTOR 1508631. LCCN 09003793. OCLC 803348474. S2CID 170331485. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  14. ^ Adams, Gregory; Adams, Kristina (2012). "Circumcision in the Early Christian Church: The Controversy That Shaped a Continent". In Bolnick, David A.; Koyle, Martin; Yosha, Assaf (eds.). Surgical Guide to Circumcision. London: Springer-Verlag. pp. 291–298. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-2858-8_26. ISBN 978-1-4471-2857-1.
  15. ^ Jacobs, Andrew (2012). Christ Circumcised: A Study in Early Christian History and Difference. United States: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812206517.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Dunn, James D. G. (Autumn 1993). Reinhartz, Adele (ed.). "Echoes of Intra-Jewish Polemic in Paul's Letter to the Galatians". Journal of Biblical Literature. 112 (3). Society of Biblical Literature: 459–477. doi:10.2307/3267745. ISSN 0021-9231. JSTOR 3267745.
  18. ^ a b Cross, F. L.; Livingstone, E. A., eds. (2005). "Paul the Apostle". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd Revised ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1243–45. doi:10.1093/acref/9780192802903.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3.
  19. ^ Dunn, James D. G., ed. (2007). "'Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but...'". The New Perspective on Paul: Collected Essays. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament. Vol. 185. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 314–330. ISBN 978-3-16-149518-2.
  20. ^ Thiessen, Matthew (September 2014). Breytenbach, Cilliers; Thom, Johan (eds.). "Paul's Argument against Gentile Circumcision in Romans 2:17-29". Novum Testamentum. 56 (4). Leiden: Brill Publishers: 373–391. doi:10.1163/15685365-12341488. eISSN 1568-5365. ISSN 0048-1009. JSTOR 24735868.
  21. ^ Thiessen, Matthew (2016). "Gentile Sons and Seed of Abraham". Paul and the Gentile Problem. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 105–115. ISBN 978-0-19-027175-6.
  22. ^ Bisschops, Ralph (January 2017). "Metaphor in Religious Transformation: 'Circumcision of the Heart' in Paul of Tarsus" (PDF). In Chilton, Paul; Kopytowska, Monika (eds.). Language, Religion and the Human Mind. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1–30. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190636647.003.0012. ISBN 978-0-19-063664-7. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  23. ^ Bokenkotter, Thomas (2004). A Concise History of the Catholic Church (Revised and expanded ed.). Doubleday. pp. 19–21. ISBN 0-385-50584-1.
  24. ^ Acts 15:1–2, 15:6–10; Galatians 1:15–16, 2:7–9, Galatians 5:2–3, 5:6–12, 6:12–15; Philippians 3:2–3; 1 Corinthians 7:17–21; Romans 2:17–29, 3:9–28, 5:1–11, Romans 11:13; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11; Titus 1:10–16.
  25. ^ Black, C. Clifton; Smith, D. Moody; Spivey, Robert A., eds. (2019) [1969]. "Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles". Anatomy of the New Testament (8th ed.). Minneapolis: Fortress Press. pp. 187–226. doi:10.2307/j.ctvcb5b9q.17. ISBN 978-1-5064-5711-6. OCLC 1082543536. S2CID 242771713.
  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. ^ Clark, R. Scott (17 September 2012). "Baptism and Circumcision According to Colossians 2:11–12". The Heidelblog. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  28. ^ a b Pitts-Taylor, Victoria (2008). Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 394. ISBN 9781567206913. For most part, Christianity does 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.
  29. ^ Meyer, Barbara U. (12 March 2020). Jesus the Jew in Christian Memory: Theological and Philosophical Explorations. Cambridge University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-108-49889-0. In his cultural accounts of circumcision, Boyarin clearly presupposes an alienated attitude to circumcision in Western countries. They show that the Christian memory of Jesus' circumcision is significantly weaker than the growing awareness of his Jewishness. In contemporary political debates – as in Canada or in North-European countries and especially in Germany – circumcision is typically described as an "archaic" rite, with those practicing it presented as forced to do so by some "ancient" law or custom.
  30. ^ Levine, Alan J. (2000). Captivity, Flight, and Survival in World War II. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-275-96955-4. In the last resort, even Jewish men otherwise well equipped to pretend to be Christians could be spotted, since circumcision was rare among Eastern European Christians.
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ a b 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.
  33. ^ "Circumcision protest brought to Florence". Associated Press. March 30, 2008. However, the practice is still common among Christians in the United States, Oceania, South Korea, the Philippines, the Middle East and Africa. Some Middle Eastern Christians actually view the procedure as a rite of passage.
  34. ^ Creighton, Sarah; Liao, Lih-Mei (2019). Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery: Solution to What Problem?. Cambridge University Press. p. 63. ISBN 9781108435529. Christians in Africa, for instance, often practise infant male circumcision.
  35. ^ a b 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.
  36. ^ a b Customary in some Coptic and other churches:
    • "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 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 still practiced by Coptic Christians." "circumcision" Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-05.
  37. ^ a b "Male circumcision: Global trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2007.
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  41. ^ 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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  46. ^ a b Marie, André (26 December 2016). "Circumcision: An Acceptable Practice?". The Catholic Thing. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  47. ^ Eugenius IV, Pope (1990) [1442]. "Ecumenical Council of Florence (1438–1445): Session 11—4 February 1442; Bull of union with the Copts". In Norman P. Tanner (ed.). Decrees of the ecumenical councils. 2 volumes (in Greek and Latin). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-0-87840-490-2. LCCN 90003209. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2007-04-25. [The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our Lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the Passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ's passion until the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But it asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation. Therefore it denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the [Jewish] sabbath and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.
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  54. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: The Catholic Church and Circumcision".
  55. ^ Father John J. Dietzen. The Morality of Circumcision. The Tablet, Brooklyn, N.Y., 30 October 2004, p. 33.
  56. ^ "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" (Fourth ed.). U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2001. Retrieved 2008-04-11. Directive 29 All persons served by Catholic health care have the right and duty to protect and preserve their bodily and functional integrity. The functional integrity of the person may be sacrificed to maintain the health or life of the person when no other morally permissible means is available. Directive 33 The well-being of the whole person must be taken into account in deciding about any therapeutic intervention or use of technology. Therapeutic procedures that are likely to cause harm or undesirable side-effects can be justified only by a proportionate benefit to the patient.
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Works cited:

Clarence-Smith, William G. (2008). "Islam and Female Genital Cutting in Southeast Asia: The Weight of the Past" (PDF). Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration. 3 (2). Archived from the original on 2009-03-06.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  • Glick, Leonard B. Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. (ISBN 0-19-517674-X)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help) The rabbinic literature and Converts to Judaism are sections are an evolution of the corresponding article which gives the following Bibliography:

  • Pocock, Specimen Historiœ Arabum, pp. 319 et seq.;
  • Millo, Histoire du Mahométisme, p. 350;
  • Hoffmann, Beschneidung, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc.;
  • Steinschneider, Die Beschneidung der Araber und Muhammedaner, in Glassberg, Die Beschneidung;
  • Jolly, Etude Critique du Manuel Opératoire des Musulmans et des Israélites, Paris, 1899.