Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Various forms of surgical and ritual operations known as circumcision are performed on human sex organs throughout the world. In Africa, it is an old practice. Erroneously believed by many people to be of Israelite or Islamic origin, circumcision actually predates the births of Jesus Christ and Mohammed. It is a much more ancient practice than Judaism and Islam, one that came to the Israelites from the Kemetians, the ancient Egyptians. This entry looks at that history and the practice in Africa. The oldest documentary evidence for male circumcision comes from ancient Egypt. Proof of circumcision rite abounds in the ancient Egyptian temple reliefs and paintings; tomb artwork from the 6th dynasty (2345–2181 BC) shows men with circumcised penises. In addition, one relief from this period shows the rite being performed on a standing adult male. Ancient Egyptians sacrificed the foreskin to Min, the fertility and sexuality god, by burning ...