By David L. Gollaher
How has a clinical perform that contains titanic threat to the sufferer and provides little or no real profit turn into so broadly permitted by way of mom and dad and fiercely endorsed by way of the clinical group? Historian of medication David Gollaher tells the unusual historical past of medicine's oldest enigma and so much chronic ritual in Circumcision. From the terribly painful initiation ceremony of the traditional Egyptians, during the Hebrew purification ritual, via circumcision's use by way of the emerging clinical neighborhood within the 19th century as prevention for diseases starting from bedwetting to paralysis, the good secret has been the patience of the perform via significantly varied social contexts.
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Additional info for Circumcision: A History Of The World's Most Controversial Surgery
35 An offshoot of Maimonides' theory was the notion that circumcision protects Jews from destructive sexual urges. A thirteenth-century French commentator and follower of Maimonides, Isaac benYediah, expounded at length with surprising erotic explicitness about the "advantages" the jew enjoyed over the uncircumcised Christian. When a beautiful woman makes love to an uncircumcised man, he wrote, The notion that circumcision depressed sexual drive was widely shared. What had been a sign of blessing under the old covenant could be interpreted as a mark of weakness under the new.
Circumcision, at best, symbolized an o u t m o d e d law whose fulfillment had already been realized in Christ. 4 N o t surprisingly, the most rigorous effort to fit circumcision into a grand scheme of Christian theology appeared in the thirteenth century from the Italian quill of St, Thomas Aquinas. In his masterpiece, Summa Theolagica, the Angelic Doctor systematically introduced objections-—for example, "Whether circumcision was instituted in a fitting manner"—that he deflated with pointby-point rebuttals.
Others felt deeply that any compromise of the time-honored practice was a betrayal. In 1994 in New York City, to cite one unsettling episode, the City Department of Health was baffled by the case of a Jewish baby who contracted the HIV virus, even though his mother tested negative. Absent any evidence, the doctors guessed that something mysterious had happened while the baby was in the hospital. They also entertained the possibility, admittedly unlikely, that the virus entered the child's bloodstream during ritual circumcision.