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March 8, 2003

Briefing: The Decline of Circumcision.

Daniel Radosh

Briefing: The Decline of Circumcision. Is circumcision necessary? Is it harmful? How did it make the leap from religious ritual to medical procedure anyway? And will it still be around in ten years? In the new issue of the Week, I attempt to get to the bottom of this fiercely debated subject. Not an easy task, since, while there is a lot of information out there, it tends to range from heavily biased to downright insane. Much of what I eventually used came from a fascinating book Circumcision: A History of the World's Most Controversial Surgery. For what it's worth, I ended up in the shrugged shoulders camp. I think the supposed dangers and drawbacks of circumcision are all wildly exaggerated or downright invented. But on the other hand, there's no real benefit to circumcision either, so it's hard to see why anyone would want to have it done, unless, you know, it's the whole covenant thing.

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