Understanding the importance of circumcision in the religious history of Western civilization provides an insight into why the surgical procedure is still so prevalent today. Circumcision appears as a motif in the religious literature of Western civilization throughout the ages. The history of the Jewish faith can be traced through the Old Testament by using the motif of circumcision. Some of the important theologic problems experienced in the early Christian church derived from the practice of circumcision, and the motif can be traced in the New Testament as well, especially in the writings of Paul.
Submitted for publication July 15, 1977.
© 1978 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists