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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2000 Dec 23;144(52):2504-8.

[Circumcision from a historical perspective].

[Article in Dutch]

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Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis, locatie Sint Lucas, afd. Chirurgie, Jan Tooropstraat 164, 1061 AE Amsterdam.


Male circumcision has been practiced by many tribes in different continents. The oldest image of a circumcision dates from 2300 BC and was found in Egypt. In the Jewish religion circumcision symbolizes the covenant between God and Abraham. Despite the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was circumcised, circumcision has never been part of Christianity. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran; the practice of circumcision in Islam is attributed to Abraham, who is considered by muslims to be one of the prophets. From the middle of the nineteenth century circumcision was performed for medical reasons. Throughout the centuries, from the time of the Bible, many methods for performing circumcision have been described, and a few to undo it by restoring the prepuce.

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