Return to Table of Contents

"Jewish Circumcision" An Enigma in Historical Perspective

- Leonard B. Glick

"Understanding Circumcision," Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2001


Also from Glick -- the "Mysticism of Circumcision" came much later..

Glick goes on to suggest that these writings were written in response to the claim of Christians that their religion was one of the spirit, and that of the Jews, one of the flesh.

1Some secular Biblical scholars who analyze the Bible from a historical/literary POV have developed the "J/E/D/P" theory, which basically states that the Five Books of Moses are derived from 4 basic sources, nicknamed J, E, D and P (for Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronimist and Priests). Passages are classified according to terminology, style, and the particular points of emphasis. Of course, secular historical analysis proceeds on the assumption that Divine intervention is not responsible for either the Biblical texts or for the events described in the Bible. As well, while there certainly are Jews among these scholars, it would not be accurate to state that this theory represents the "Jewish" POV.


To the Jewish faith, circumcision is a sacrifice to their God by MALES, albeit a sacrifice forced onto an unconsenting infant.

Some scholars believe that the sacrifice of circumcision was a substitute for the sacrifice of the entire infant which was practiced by their neighbors, the Phoenicians.

Jon D. Levinson, a professor of Jewish studies at Harvard, stated that there is "circumstantial evidence that the rite [of circumcision] may have once functioned as a substitution ritual for child sacrifice, averting the death of the son." (Levenson JD. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity. New Haven:Yale University Press 1993. pp 48-52.)

In "Covenant of Blood: Circumcision and Gender in Rabbinic Judaism" (Lawrence A. Hoffman, 1996), Hoffman writes,

Information quoted on this site is with the written permission of the authors.

Return to Table of Contents