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Call It Magic Surgery: Possessing Members, Possessing Texts/Circumcision And Midrash

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Chapter Summary

Yahweh's injunction to Abraham to circumcise all males eight days old and up to serve as a reminder of the everlasting covenant between God and the children of Israel, as a "token" in one's flesh, (Genesis 17:11) is a flag that stands at the beginning of one wing of western literature marking the model for all future bodily writing and therefore a hermeneutics of circumcision will help discuss the nature of this grafting of writing and bodily mutilation. The language of the covenant and the practice of circumcision are inherited by the Jews from their Babylonian neighbors/ancestors. The primarily "material," external covenant of inscribing the flesh by circumcising the member of generation demanded by the Hebrew faith finds its counterpart in the scarified backs of the West's literary characters that follow, from Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus) to Kafka ("In The Penal Colony") to Beckett (How It Is) to Maxine Hong-Kingston.

Keywords: Babylonian neighbors; covenant; Hebrew faith; Israel



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