This book uses the Jewish ritual of circumcision to consider how violent acts are embedded within entrenched moral discourses and offers a new perspective for thinking about violence.

Intervening in contemporary debates on the Jewish ritual of circumcision, it departs from both the ordinary secular defences of circumcision for medical reasons, and the criticisms that consider it an unethical violation of bodies that cannot consent. An examination of the intersection of violence and morality, this book rejects the binary logic on which popular debates on circumcision hinge, arguing that in some instances violence can be a productive experience and can thus be considered beyond ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Engaging with the works of Jacques Derrida, the author puts forward a framework of violence of ontology, which is characterised as a violence that is related to existence, the violence of being, which resists definition through binary oppositions. In so doing, the author contends that circumcision is in fact a form of generative violence that is leveraged for cultural purposes and inherent in the making of bodies.

As such, this volume offers a compelling framework that investigates the relationship between bodies, identities, ethics, and violence, and will therefore appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory, and religion with interests in the sociology of the body, ritual, and cultural studies.

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|30 pages

Problematising Violence and Morality

chapter 2|27 pages

Conceptualising Circumcision

chapter 3|26 pages

The Genesis of Jewish Ritual Circumcision

chapter 5|21 pages

From Rite to Write

chapter |5 pages


The Cut that Makes Whole