Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2. No. 295

By Nina E. Livesey
December 2010
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed By Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161506284
207 pages
$97.50 Paper Original

Through a detailed evaluation of treatments of circumcision in the primary authors of the second century BCE to the first century CE, Nina E. Livesey demonstrates that there is no common or universally recognized meaning for the Jewish rite of circumcision. The meaning of circumcision is contingent upon its literary context.

The strength of this volume is in its detailed textual analysis of circumcision, attending to the nuances within each text's treatment of circumcision. At the same time, it provides ample evidence of each author's unrestricted use of the rite of circumcision. Ancient authors employed the term freely and in a number of literary senses, as a literal rite, in a metaphoric sense, and as a metonym to confer meanings on this rite. A final chapter provides a brief history of the interpretation of circumcision within the Christian tradition shedding light on its understanding from the second century to the present era.


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