Male Genital Alteration

The origins of male genital alteration predate any religion now in existence. It is certain that ancient Egyptians practiced some form of adult male circumcision; there are many theories about how and why the practice made its way from Egyptian culture to the Israelites, who became the first people known to genitally alter infants.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Abraham was the first Israelite to be circumcised; performing the operation on himself at the age of ninety-nine. He then circumcised all the members of his household. The Biblical injunction reads: "Every male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout the generations" (Gen. 17: 11-12). Both of Abraham's sons were circumcised: Ishmael, the child of Abraham's servant Hagar, and Isaac, the son of Abraham's wife Sarah.

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