Cover image for Circumcision : a history of the world's most controversial surgery
Circumcision : a history of the world's most controversial surgery
Gollaher, David, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 253 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
The Jewish tradition -- Christians and Muslims -- Symbolic wounds -- From ritual to science -- The fabric of the foreskin -- Circumcision and disease: the quest for evidence -- Backlash -- Female circumcision -- Appendix: evaluative research and the nature of medical evidence.
Reading Level:
1460 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GT2470 .G65 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From the extraordinarily painful initiation rite of the ancient Egyptians, through the Hebrew purification ritual, through its use by nineteenth-century doctors as prevention for ailments including bedwetting, paralysis, and epilepsy, circumcision has had a long and varied history. Perhaps the greatest mystery, however, is its persistence over time through vastly different social contexts.Historian of medicine David Gollaher takes a comprehensive look at the practice in this lively, scholarly history. Circumcision also addresses the growing controversy over the procedure's continuance, and those opposing routine circumcision will find support here. Gollaher concludes that "if male circumcision were confined to developing nations, it would by now have emerged as an international cause célèbre."

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1 The Jewish Traditionp. 1
2 Christians and Muslimsp. 31
3 Symbolic Woundsp. 53
4 From Ritual to Sciencep. 73
5 The Fabric of the Foreskinp. 109
6 Circumcision and Disease: the Quest for Evidencep. 125
7 Backlashp. 161
8 Female Circumcisionp. 187
Appendix: Evaluative Research and the Nature of Medical Evidencep. 209
Notesp. 213
Indexp. 241

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