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The history of circumcision in the Jewish religion - Research Paper Example

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The research paper "The history of circumcision in the Jewish religion" shows that the cultural and religious factors which underlie the practice of circumcision in the Jewish religion continue to motivate a majority of Jews to circumcise their sons as a symbol of keeping their covenant…
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The history of circumcision in the Jewish religion
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Download file to see previous pages The significance of this practice is also subject to various interpretations and theories, largely with religious and social connotations. It is hypothesized that the ancient Egyptians considered circumcision to be a rite of passage from youth to manhood and an initiation into religious rites. Another perspective sees it as a method of purification which may also have aimed to reduce sexual pleasure. There is conjecture that the practice may be linked to phallic worship, being an offering to the deity of fertility or as a substitute for human sacrifice. The fact that the priests of Egypt and the elite of the Aztec and Celebes tribes practiced circumcision, suggests that is may have been a sign of nobility or superior social status. Practical motives, such as cleanliness and freedom from disease are also offered as an explanation for the practice. Some historians argue that it may have been a form of social control exerted by the church. Others see it as a mark of cultural identity, like a tattoo, or a sign of slavery. It is even given a psychological significance as a device of ‘pain imprinting’ through which the infant develops a greater threshold of pain and its chances of survival are enhanced. The root of the word is linked to words referring to preparation for the marital state and to purification. Ancient sources link the practice to reasons of hygiene and also as a test of endurance before entry into the adult world. It can only be concluded that circumcision is an initiatory rite with religious significance. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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