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History of Circumcision This index page links to material relating to the origin and history of male circumcision. Material is indexed in chronological order of publication. Introduction The practice of male genital mutilation is far older than recorded history. Certainly, it is far older than the Biblical account of Abraham Genesis It seems to have originated in eastern Africa long before this time.
One theory postulates that circumcision began as a way of "purifying" individuals and society by reducing sexuality and sexual pleasure. Human sexuality was seen as dirty or impure in some societies; hence cutting off the pleasure-producing parts was the obvious way to "purify" someone.
It is now known that the male foreskin, or prepuce, is the principal location of erogenous sensation in the human male see Anatomy.
Removal of the prepuce substantially reduces erogenous sensation. In this procedure the foreskin was stripped away from the glans, with which it is fused in the infant See Normal. In a painful procedure known today as a synechotomy, more foreskin was removed than before and the injury was correspondingly greater.
With the introduction of peri'ah, the glans could not easily be recovered, and so no Jewish male would easily be able to appear as an uncircumcised Greek. Although Judaism mandated circumcision, not all Jews wanted to be circumcised.
Several methods of foreskin restoration were devised and practiced. This lessened the ugly appearance of the bare exposed circumcised penis.
The Christians took a strong stand against circumcision in the first century.
Christians rejected circumcision at the Council at Jerusalem. Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, taught parents that they should not circumcise their children. Paul warned Titus to beware of the "circumcision group.
Moscucci reports that circumcision was imposed in an attempt to prevent masturbation. The American cultural practice of circumcision became nearly universal in South Korea after the Korean War of The incidence of neonatal circumcision in the United Kingdom declined sharply to a very low level after publication of this article after the procedure was delisted by the NHS.
America waited another 20 years before addressing the problem of non-therapeutic circumcision. Preston established that there is no therapeutic or prophylactic benefit to circumcision.
He also cited "undesirable psychologic, sexual, and medico-legal difficulties.
The incidence of male neonatal circumcision in the U. The matter rested there untilwhen retrospective data collected from U. Army medical records by Thomas Wiswell, M. Careful examination of Wiswell's methods and data revealed many methodological flaws which rendered his conclusions questionable and unreliable.
This created new controversy about the value of neonatal circumcision. The Canadian Paediatric Society examined Wiswell's data in and found it to be "insufficiently compelling" to cause it to change its policy statement, which is against circumcision.
The mandate of NOCIRC is to provide accurate information regarding male circumcision, to promote children's rights, and to shed light on the medical mistakes of the past. The development of new information in the medical literature since caused the AAP to revisit the matter of circumcision in The CIE History exam is meant to push you to the limits.
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