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Although the origins of circumcisions are unknown, it is commonly believed that the practice began about 12,000 years ago whereby a stone knife was used to chop off the extraneous skin at the tip of a male’s penis. The primary reason given in ancient societies for this practice was that they believed difficulties in retracting the foreskin were detrimental to the fertilization process (Morse, 2004). In another instance, the act of circumcision was widely practiced in Egyptian culture as a right of passage into puberty, although it was not a cultural standard. The Muslims, on the other hand, considered it to be an act of good hygiene. A second theory as to the spread of this cultural ritual is that in ancient times when certain cultures moved away from the act of sacrificing humans to the gods, they sought a replacement vessel such as self-mutilation (i.e. circumcision). This was due to the fact that the spillage of blood was an important part of these sacrificial offerings and would have been common with their primitive circumcision practices (Morse, 2004). The most well known origin of circumcision, however, is the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. It was said that Abraham performed the first circumcision over 3,800 years ago on himself at God’s decree so that he would be fit to father the Hebrew nation. Current Judeo beliefs state that the boy should be circumcised on his 8th day of life following the Shabbat, which is their holiest day. It is believed that now the body and soul are completely united (Morse, 2004). Contemporary American views on the subject of circumcision are shifting more and more in opposition of such a custom (GVU’s 8th WWW user survey, n.d.). In 1971 90% of American men were circumcised, however, that same year the Committee on the Fetus and Newborn of the American Academy of Pediatrics decided they would no longer recommend the procedure (Afifi & Metts, 1998). There has been a...
References: Afifi, W. A. & Metts, S. (1998). Characteristics and consequences of male circumcision on
infants and their families. Journal of American Pediatric Association, 15, 365-392.
Carroll, J. (2004). Sexuality Now: Embracing diversity. Belmont, CA:Wadsworth Thomson.
GVU 's 8th WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2000, from
Little, A. G. (1988, May 30). Male circumcision explored. U.S. News & World Report, 104(21),
Morse, S. (2004). Male circumcision: A necessary practice? American Psychologist, 55, 180-
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