Chapter

 “This Is My Covenant”

Leonard B. Glick

in Marked in Your Flesh

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195176742
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835621 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019517674X.003.0002
 “This Is My Covenant”

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In Genesis 17, the Lord promises land and progeny to Abraham on condition that he, his immediate household, and all his infant male descendants be circumcised. This text, composed by Judean priests around 500 BCE, and other biblical texts on circumcision reveal such themes as patriarchy, female impurity, and possibly child sacrifice. Several centuries later, Hellenistic Jews, reacting to Roman ridicule of circumcision, attempted foreskin restoration, eventually leading rabbis to mandate the more radical tissue removal called peri’ah. One Hellenistic Jew who tried to justify the Jewish rite was the first-century CE philosopher Philo.

Keywords: circumcision; Bible; patriarchy; child sacrifice; Roman satire; Hellenized Jews; foreskin restoration; Philo

Chapter.  9643 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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