Even though St. Paul seized with the full force of himself the majesty of Jesus and carried Christianity forward with majesty while also willingly drinking of the cup that Jesus drank, he also carried error along with him into enlargement. He…
wrestled mightily with the Fruedian god, sexual libido, as is evidenced in these words: the ‘immoral man sins against his body… You are not your own, you were bought for a price; then glorify God with your body… It is indeed an excellent thing for a man to have no intercourse with a woman; but there is so much immorality, that every man had better have a wife of his own and every woman a husband of her own… –and then he transfers the dread of castration from the physical to the psychological level, saying that through Christ a man is circumcised…
Harold then takes the circumcision theme and expounds:
In the Christian world, the circumcision rite of Judaism continues, veiled as a medical practice, so that the male’s castration-fear phobia is not necessarily born of race memory… Jesus says, “Moses gave you the rite of circumcision – not that it came from Moses, it came from your ancestors,” which is to say, from primeval times, and then He adds, “Well, if a man gets circumcised upon the sabbath, to avoid breaking the law of Moses, are you enraged at me for curing and not cutting, the entire body of a man upon the sabbath?” –or as the King James version puts it, making “a man every whit whole…?” Jesus thus spurned circumcision and implied that from a psychological point of view it cuts the entire body of the male.
Although I’m not so sure Jesus completely spurns circumcision here (He was circumcised Himself, although he does contrast it with his healing), I do think there is something to the thought that it has an effect on the entirety of the male psychological makeup. In his masterful “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares gives us his understanding of the circumcision rite. I quote him at length:
Circumcision at 8 days is generally considered a hygienic measure, though actually something far more important is involved: the transformation of the human body. The rationale is the need to sever manhood (as typified by Adam) from the purely animal heritage through a process of sublimation and transformation.
This shock is deeply felt by the individual. Undergone 8 days after birth, as it is among the Jews, its effects are so decisive within the structure of the unconscious and the vital centres (chakras)* that it is justifiable to find in circumcision a factor of the exceptional history of the Jews. We may well suppose that those who instituted this practice did so with a specific goal in view. Circumcision intensifies the development of the sensorial apparatus through an effective co-ordination of sensory activity; it awakens the intellectual faculties; the sexual energy is utilized by the body prior to the awakening of sex.
The result is a freer self which transforms and assimilates the elements of its environment according to the needs of its own individual development. At the same time this self is carried along by the inner movement which engenders that faculty of assimilation. The individual is in perfect harmony with the rapid changes of the world.
These remarks may give insight into the manner in which the vital and contradictory movement set up in the human process by the circumcision is considered, in mythical terms, as a “pact” with Elohim (which is this process). This pact causes the movement of the universe to penetrate into the very flesh of the body, and into the mind as well. In fact, it has “conquered the flesh” by obliging to transmute, to transfigure, itself.
This is a theme already familiar to us; the transmutation of what is fixed and static (in this case, the flesh, the blood, the “dam” of Adam), so that it can eventually allow the life of Aleph (the unthinkable life-death, abstract principle of all that is and all that is not) to be resuscitated.
* my parenthesis
Thought provoking indeed. Until next time, peace…