"Circumcision is a sign to set you apart from the people of the nations"

by stuckinarut2 36 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • David_Jay

    Half banana,

    Unlike the stupid stories Jehovah's Witnesses sold as snake oil but claimed were divine, we Jews are not uncomfortable saying the following: "Some of our customs we attribute to God in the Bible are actually pagan."

    That's kind of the reason why during the Babylonian exile the priests and scribes changed our historical narrative with a colorful liturgical folklore overlay of religious mythology when composing Bible stories. While this doesn't mean there might not have been some providence behind the events of Jewish history, seeing God's hand in things was more hindsight than anything.

    What Witnesses see as a divine history in the Bible is actually a liturgical folklore, like American tales about George Washing chopping down a cheery tree in his youth, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Johnny Appleseed planting American foliage, and Betsy Ross inventing the first American flag. None of this is fact, but these stories contain cherished truths among Americans. The Bible of the Jews was meant to be the same.

    Circumcision may not have had heavenly origins. It may be more barbaric in its invention. Yet the Jews saw a providence in it once in Babylon on how it got woven into the Hebrew culture, and it along with many other practices was kept as a means to preserve our cultural identity. Instead of assimilation (as was the fate of most tiny cultures absorbed by Babylon), giving our cultural practices like circumcision a religious meaning through liturgy (that is the Scriptures) preserved us. Babylon, the mighty nation is no more yet we are still here.

    Today some male converts to Judaism are not required to undergo circumcision in some circumstances. There are discussions among teachers about this practice. While I don't see it going away entirely, if at all, don't imagine for one minute that Jews are anything like Jehovah's Witnesses and blindly base their practices on the Bible.

    If anything, it has always been the other way around.

  • zeb

    er sparrowdown its like this urinal etiquette decrees when taking a pea you don't look at the next guys bits. I just thought I would discreetly mention that. sssh.

  • David_Jay

    But what about Deuteronomy 14:1 and Philippians 3:2? How do Jews account for these two texts in the practice of circumcision?

    Deuteronomy 14:1 states that the Israelites were not to "gash" themselves or "shave" their heads to "mourn" the dead. This was because such practices were part of heathen rituals associated with the worship of ancestors as practiced by neighboring nations.

    Jews, male and female, have pierced their ears and noses to hang jewelry since antiquity, for example. Other texts required the shaving of the head such as for cleansing after being exposed to skin diseases. So this text in Deuteronomy cannot be used to argue that the flesh cannot be cut for circumcision. It is only speaking about mourning the dead.

    As for the text in the New Testament, that is a Christian text that Jews have never accepted on the basis that Jews do not see Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. It was written in the first century C.E., thousands of years after Jews had adopted circumcision, and is therefore irrelevant to Jewish instruction.

  • Crazyguy

    I believe many of the stories in the Old Testament were written by Greeks not Jews. One can see their influence all over the place. Sampson is Hercules, Goliaths armor is Greek hoplight soldier armor. Circumcision was originally a Egyptian idea but the Greeks were all about the naked body. I could go on and on.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    So in the new system, will everyone's foreskin grow back??? Will Abraham and all his contemporaries be resurrected Circumcised or intact? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • David_Jay


    While everyone is entitled to their views, and indeed, some of the later interpolations of Ezra and Daniel, and writings that did not make into the Tanakh (such as Tobit) show Greek influence, the Hebrew Bible as a whole is a product of the pre-Hellenistic era.

    The Tanakh was compiled during the Babylonian exile, in the 500s BCE, when the Jews were cutoff from the world. This was during the end of the era of Archaic Greek society, and the Jews would not encounter the Greeks until the exile ended and the Classical Greek world began.

    The Jews would first make contact with Hellenism just prior to the Hasmonean revolt at the end of the 3rd century,3-4 hundred years after the Hebrew Scriptures had been written. The introduction of Chanukah into the Jewish calendar in the 2nd century BCE, marks how late (and originally destructive) this first encounter was.

    When Egypt fell to Greece, Hellenistic Jews moved to Alexandria. The Septuagint was the result, but the experiment did not last long. The Septuagint was eventually rejected by Judaism because of this Greek influence upon the text, even though even in the Septuagint it was somewhat minor. To this day Jews regard the Septuagint as a faulty and untrustworthy translation. None of the Greek additions in the Septuagint occur in the accepted Jewish text of the Tanakh. Only the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Church accept these Greek additions as canonical.

  • David_Jay


    In addition:

    Hercules was not set as a Greek hero as we know him today until the Greek Classical period (after the Babylonian exile), but the Jews wrote the story of David and Goliath during the exile based on folklore stories from the Davidic dynasty era predating Nebuchadnezzar. It is likely Goliath was based on Mesopotamian giant stories, like those feared by the Canaanites and early Hebrews.

    Greek Hoplite soldiers existed in the 7th century BCE, perfecting their famous shield armour somewhere around the 5th century BCE. The folklore of David goes back to 1000 BCE and the liturgy was written in Babylonia around 530. While it may have been possible for an exile from the Archaic Greek world to share the design of the shield with someone who wrote the Scripture story, there isn't empirical evidence to support this hypothesis. It seems that the Jews and Greeks knew virtually nothing of one another until the Babylonian exile ended, the Hebrews being so insignificant as we were then.

  • David_Jay

    Pete wrote:

    So in the new system, will everyone's foreskin grow back??? Will Abraham and all his contemporaries be resurrected Circumcised or intact? Inquiring minds want to know.

    The "new system" is a Jehovah's Witness fabrication. At least for Jews, there is no such thing. This present life may be all there is.

    The Jewish sages and prophets did speak of what later Jewish teachers have come to call "Olam Ha Ba," the World to Come or "Afterlife." Whether or not this is literally true or to be expected we will have to see, therefore Jews do not live their present lives in expectation of it or center their hope and daily focus upon it.

    Some Jews, therefore, see the idea of the resurrection as something that happens in the present life and not in Olam Ha Ba. For instance, when one changes their pattern of life from a set of unhealthy, self-centered, selfish living to one more healthy, giving, and healing, one can be said to be experiencing a "resurrection" to true life as God intends for us. For many Jews the idea of a physical resurrection is naive, childish, but for others some expect it in some form or another for the dead when the Messiah comes.

    But details like what happens to circumcision marks are considered trivial. Since Jews have no definitive evidence regarding the nature of Olam Ha Ba, it does little good to speculate about exactly what it will be like for humans. How can one give an answer? Where does one get the information from? It has not been provided to Israel or to our prophets and teachers, therefore there is no answer to give, at least from the Jewish perspective.

    Anyone else who gives an answer obviously claims to have tapped into the Divine. Thus make sure of their credentials before you accept what they offer you.

  • sparrowdown

    Zeb - Aaah ok. Thanks for explaining one of the great mysteries of the penis club. Us girls have these little things called doors in our public toilets so I never understood there was a urinal etiquette. LOL.

    But hey if public toilets become nongender maybe we'll all have the urinal experience in the future - possibly...god I hope not I like doors.

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    Year one movie "Jack Black"..Circumcision scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wePg61di5q

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