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These are not questions about circumcision. They are about what Maimonides said about the practice.

I would to know if the following things do, or do not, in fact represent things Maimonides said about circumcision. The information is taken from the paragraphs below in an article on the history of circumcision in Wikipedia at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_male_circumcision

  1. It is done to "quell all the impulses of matter" and "perfect what is defective morally."

  2. that it weakened the penis

  3. had the effect of reducing a man's lustful thoughts and making sex less pleasurable.

  4. Did he warn that it is "hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him."


The Jewish philosopher Maimonides (1135–1204) insisted that faith should be the only reason for circumcision. He recognised that it was "a very hard thing" to have done to oneself but that it was done to "quell all the impulses of matter" and "perfect what is defective morally." Sages at the time had recognised that the foreskin heightened sexual pleasure. Maimonides reasoned that the bleeding and loss of protective covering rendered the penis weakened and in so doing had the effect of reducing a man's lustful thoughts and making sex less pleasurable. He also warned that it is "hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him."[24][25][26][27]

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The answer to your question is, yes, Maimonides said these things about circumcision. His statements can be found in Guide for the Perplexed 3:49. I will intersperse your four statements with the relevant lines from the Guide, all taken from the Friedlander translation.

1. It is done to "quell all the impulses of matter" and "perfect what is defective morally."

This commandment has not been enjoined as a complement to a deficient physical creation, but as a means for perfecting man's moral shortcomings.

2. that it weakened the penis

and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible

3. had the effect of reducing a man's lustful thoughts and making sex less pleasurable.

Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment

4. Did he warn that it is "hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him."

Our Sages (Beresh. Rabba, c. 80) say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised had sexual intercourse, to separate from him.

In the quote that you cite at the end there is another point not mentioned in your four points, namely, that Maimonides said that faith should be the only reason for circumcision. This is also from the same chapter in the Guide:

No one, however, should circumcise himself or his son for any other reason but pure faith; for circumcision is not like an incision on the leg, or a burning in the arm, but a very difficult operation.

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