"The Harshest Cut: Circumcision in Medieval Christian Art and Thought."
Sara Lipton, Professor of History, Stony Brook University
Tuesday, Feb 9 at 6pm in the Chandler Auditorium, Harn Museum
Reception to follow.
In this paper, Sara Lipton will examine representations and rhetorical uses of circumcision in a series of little known late medieval Christian sources -- manuscript illuminations, sermons, political satire, and poetry. Although Christian theology retained respect for the original institution, if not the ongoing observance, of circumcision, Christian treatments of the practice grew increasingly negative, construing it as both brutal and, more surprisingly, hypocritical. She argues that this emphasis on the deceitful nature of circumcision reflects not only intensified anti-Judaism, but also concern about the body, the flesh, and the material world -- realms with which Jews were polemically associated, but in which urban Christians too were deeply implicated.