SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL JOURNAL, Volume 50, Number 14: Pages 556-558,
March 27, 1976.

Circumcision and ‘uncircumcision’

Schneider T.


The origin of circumcision is shrouded in antiquity. Mummies, 6 000 years old, have been reported to show evidence of circumcision but the first definite account appears in Genesis, chapter 17. Many nations practise it as a rite, the time of its performance varying from soon after birth to early manhood. Antiochus Epiphanes prohibited it in Palestine and the introduction of Greek gymnasia where nudity was the practice, led to many seeking to become uncircumcised. Celsus has described such an operation which appears to have been successful. In Rome under Hadrian and in 16th century Spain a heavy funnel-shaped copper tube fitting was used as another method of restoring the prepuce. The debate concerning the value of circumcision has continued up until the present day.

(File revised 12 November 2006)

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