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Schlossman, H.H. (1966). Circumcision as Defense—A Study in Psychoanalysis and Religion. Psychoanal Q., 35:340-356.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 35:340-356

Circumcision as Defense—A Study in Psychoanalysis and Religion

Howard H. Schlossman, M.D.


In conclusion, the clinical material from one patient indicates that small losses, representing circumcision, were used to defend against castration anxiety inherent in the wish for bisexuality. This masochistic pattern offers an explanation for the ritual of circumcision. A consideration of Biblical and mythological material suggests that the Jews used the ritual to ward off the danger of punishment for returning to pre-existing orgiastic religions and to placate a new severe God who, while promising fruitfulness and the fruits of the world, demanded submission and instinctual repression.

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