Call for Papers: Book on Circumcision in Jewish Law and Life
Circumcision has been understood as a marker of Jewish identity and as a sign of covenant between the Jewish male and his Creator. This book will trace the significance of circumcision in practice and ritual across Jewish history and within contemporary Jewish communities. It will present historical, anthropological, psychological, and sociological scholarship as well as the personal perspectives of contemporary women and men. We are looking for papers on a wide range of issues relating to this topic. Some of the questions we envision this book addressing are:
What factors in the cultural context of the ancient Israelites contributed to the establishment of infant male circumcision as a universal obligation?
How did the circumcision ritual evolve in rabbinic Judaism?
Did the medicalization of circumcision in the modern era change meaning and practice?
Given the blood-ritual aspects of traditional circumcision, how can we understand its relationship to rituals surrounding the blood of menstruation and childbirth?
What are the differences in the significance of circumcision to various Jewish communities?
Are there gender differences in the conceptualization of the ritual or acceptance of the practice?
Has the feminist consciousness generated ambivalence about circumcision as the marker of Jewish identity?
How will the current medical and general debate about routine infant circumcision in the wider American society affect Jewish attitudes and practice?
Please contact Rahel Wasserfall, Ph.D. or Elizabeth Mark, Ph.D., Scholars-in-Residence, Women's Studies, Brandeis University.
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rahel Wasserfall is a French-born, Israeli-raised anthropologist whose edited collection Women and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Law and Life was published by University Press of New England, 1999. Elizabeth Mark is a psychologist in clinical practice, formerly a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, who writes on biblical texts from a psychological perspective.
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