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Circumcision (#53)

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  • joe lieb
    #53: His disciples said to him, is circumcision useful or not? He said to them, If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2000
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      #53:
      His disciples said to him, "is circumcision useful or not?"
      He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would
      produce children already circumcised from their mother.
      Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become
      profitable in every respect."

      Everybody on this list (including me) so far has interpreted
      this saying as Jesus arguing that circumcision is not necessary.
      However it has occurred to me that there is another
      interpretation.

      The question that the disciples ask Jesus is not about
      whether circumcision is necessary. It is rather about
      the purpose of circumcision. Jesus answers firstly that
      it is certainly not necessary for biological reasons.
      (Incidently his is exactly the same argument that Darwinists
      used in the 19th century to counter Lamarckians.) His next
      statement should logically be interpreted (ISTM) as the
      true reason for circumcision. Instead everyone seems to
      be interpreting this last statement as advice against
      circumcision.

      "Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become
      profitable in every respect."
      How distant is this statement, O Coptic scholars, from
      "Rather, truly in every respect, circumcision is
      profitable for the spirit." ?

      Andrew Smith:
      There are numerous examples in the OT where the circumcised are
      uncircumcised of heart, ear or lip. Additionally, one can be circumcised and yet uncircumcised.....

      The simplest explanation is that Jesus was talking
      about circumcision of the PENIS. The various quotes
      that Andrew Smith gives are interesting,
      but all assume that circumcision of the
      (whatever) is preceded by circumcision of
      the traditional body part.

      Maybe Jesus really did say something about circumcision.
      Maybe it was the altered version of #53 that I have given above.
      Maybe later evangelists, wishing to include gentiles,
      tweaked #53 into the version we read today.
      This would explain why so many different NT writers record
      Jesus as talking about circumcision.

      - Joe.




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