Experts have been unable to understand the origin of the practice of routine male circumcision. Most of the literature shows no awareness of phimosis - its frequency - or the sexual and erectile problems which can be cured by circumcision. If routine circumcision had been introduced for this most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; then the importance of an alternative modern method, suitable to our culture's attitudes in this day and age, would be clear.


ENGLISH TRANSLATION
FELIX BRYK
"Die Beschneidung bei Mann und Weib"

Gustav Feller. New Brandenburg. (1931)
"Circumcision in Man and Woman"
translated: David Berger MA
revised by : R. Stuart

SUMMARY
Full Index to Bryk

NOTES TO REVISED VERSION

I sympathise with Berger - a second person with a second perspective can often present fresh ideas - Bryk was a flowing writer with a fine sense for academic argumentation and by and large the English translation is fine - but small mistakes do not do justice to the line of reasoning, and it sometimes makes hard reading - David Berger often writes using German syntax, for example:

p. 160 "Thus we arrive ourselves" - instead of simply "Thus we arrive"

the following are the largest mistakes


page. 92
DB) But here the primitive matter is not that of ethical judgment,

Saite.71
Br) Hier handelt es sich aber in erster Linie nicht um ethische Urteile

RS) But this is not primarily a matter of ethical judgment,


p. 99
DB) Naturally it is impossible that strangers introduced it or that the ancestors of the Australian natives had already adopted it before they migrated to that continent. But even in such cases its origin does not probably differ materially from what has been assumed;

S. 78 - 79
Br) Natürlich ist nicht ausgeschlossen, daß Fremde sie eingeführt, oder die Vorfahren der australischen Urbewohner sie schon vor der Wanderung nach dem fünften Erdteile von einem anderen Volke übernommen hätten. Aber auch in diesen Fällen wird ihr Ursprung nicht wesentlich von dem angenommen abweichen;

RS) Naturally it is not impossible that strangers introduced it or that the ancestors of the Australian natives had already adopted it from other peoples before they migrated to the fifth continent. But even in such cases its origin would not be drastically different from that which has been assumed;


p. 100
DB) that it had no hygienic effect simply because its subjective hygienic imprint was removed.

S. 80
Br) deshalb seine Wirkung in der Richtung der Hygiene abgestritten werden kann, weil ihm die subjektive hygienische Prägung abgeht.

RS) therefore, its influence in the hygienic sphere can be denied, because its subjective hygienic imprint has worn off.


p. 117
DB) It also, in part, of these childhood impulses and an emotional approach toward the young people".

S.95
Br) Es liegt darin aber auch eine Sühnung dieser Kindheits-Impulse und eine seelische Annäherung an die jungen Leute."

RS) It is then, a reconciliation of these childhood impulses and an emotional identification with the young people".


p.141
DB) those cases in which there is involved a purposed, specific operation confined to the genital apparatus and conditioned by its real or supposed physiological role.

S. 118
Br) diejenigen Fälle, bei denen es sich um eine absichtlich spezifische, auf den Genital-Apparat beschränkte und durch dessen wirkliche oder vermeintliche physiologische Rolle bedingte Operation handelt.

RS) those cases in which an intentional and specific operation is involved, confined to the genital apparatus and conditioned by its real or supposed physiological role.


p. 140
DB) In general, however, I still maintain that a purpose is not the cause of circumcision, but that beyond doubt the idea of sacrifice also introduced it among a number of peoples, even if among by far the most of them another point of view was prevalent on its introduction, a point of view the knowledge of which disappeared entirely, and has to be traced out again".

S.117
Br) Im allgemeinen muß ich aber dabei bleiben, daß nicht ein Zweck Ursache der Beschneidung ist, sondern daß ganz gewiß auch die Opfer Idee bei einer Anzahl Völkern dieselbe herbeiführte, wenn auch für bei weitem die meisten ein anderer Gesichtspunkt für deren Einführung vorhanden war, ein Gesichtspunkt, dessen Kenntnis bei ihnen ganz verschwunden ist und erst wieder aufgefunden werden mußte."

RS) In general, however, I still must negate that one cause led to circumcision, but that beyond doubt, among a number of peoples the idea of sacrifice also led to this. However among the majority another point of view for its introduction was present, a point of view all knowledge of which has entirely disappeared and must be found once more."


p. 148
DB) The men, who have safeguarded themselves for such a long time against their growing sons by means of bullying them, do not disdain now, since they have received the young men into their company, to grant them a peek behind the scenes.

Just as we have you (?) circumcised, you are never to spread it, in order that this news may not be told to the children. Keep the tyurunga (bullroarer) secret and continue to tell the children about Tuanjiraka. As we your forebears, so are you also now become a man.

S. 124
Br) "Die Männer, welche sich solange durch die Mittel der Einschüchterung vor den heranwachsenden Söhnen geschätzt haben, verschmähen es jetzt, da sie die Jungen in ihre Gesellschaft aufgenommen haben, auch nicht, sie einen Blick hinter die Kulissen werfen zu lassen.

Wie wir, Beschnittener, sollst du es niemals verbreiten, damit diese Botschaft ja nicht den Kindern erzählt wird. Halte den Tjurunga [Schwirrholz] geheim und erzähle den Kindern wieder von Tuanjiraka. Wie die Vorfahren, so bist auch du jetzt ein Mann geworden,

RS) "Sincethey have received the youngsters into their company, the men, who have safeguarded themselves for such a long time against their growing sons by means of intimidating them, do not now continue to spurn them, but grant them a peek behind the scenes.

Just as us, the circumcised, you must never spread it, in order that this news never be told to the children. Keep the tyurunga (bullroarer) secret and continue to tell the children about Tuanjiraka. As your forefathers, so are you also now become a man.


p. 162
DB) since directly after the operation all sexual intercourse is forbidden (1) the candidates for a time, even those that are already married.

S. 138
Br) indem sogleich nach der Operation den Kandidaten, auch den schon verheirateten, jeglicher geschlechtlicher Verkehr für eine gewisse Zeit ausdrücklich verboten (1) wird.

RS) since directly after the operation even among those candidates who are already married, all sexual intercourse is strictly forbidden for a certain time.(1)


p.170
DB) Even if we were to consider those puberty rites cleared up, it still remains to explain why the Generation that has already become old still does not grant itself the joy of decorating its own organs, which, out of fear, it would suppress in the younger Generation. What is the reason for the life-long lack of ornamentation in this very organ, the most important of all?

S. 145
Br) Selbst wenn man jene Pubertätsriten für geklärt erachtete, bleibt noch zu erklären, warum nicht späterhin die altgewordene Generation ihren eigenen Organen an Schmuckfreude zuteil werden läßt, was sie, aus Furcht, bei der jüngeren Generation unterdrücken möchte. Woran liegt der lebenslange Mangel in Schmuckfreude gerade bei dem wichtigsten Organ?

RS) Even if one considers all the puberty rites to be explained, it still remains unexplained why later on, the older generation still does not grant itself (that which out of fear, they would like to suppress in the younger generation), the joy of decorating their own organs, For what reason is this life-long lack of ornamentation especially in this, the most important organ of all?


p. 194
DB) This preputial wreath, cancellated by folds and swollen veins, together with the tip of the penis, does actually remind one of the acorn cup with the acorn itself peeping out.

S.165
Br) Dieser Präputial-kranz, den Falten und geschwollene Venen gittern, erinnert tatsächlich mit der Penis spitze an den Eichelbecher der Baumfrucht, aus dem die Eichel hervorlugt.

RS) This preputial crown, netted with folds and swollen veins together with the tip of the penis, does actually remind one of the acorn cup with the acorn peeping out.


p. 197
DB) In this ratiocination we find the phallic, exhibitionistic concept that imputes to the life-giving phallus a power that conquers death, thought or wished to be everlasting.

S. 168
Br) In diesem ganzen Räsonnement steckt der phallische, exhibitionistische Gedanke, der dem Leben spendenden Phallus eine den Tod besiegende Kraft beimißt, die als ewig dauernd aufgefaßt oder- gewunscht wird.

RS) Throughout the entire line of reasoning we find the phallic, exhibitionistic concept, which imputes to the life-giving phallus a power that conquers death and which was thought or wished to be everlasting.


p. 208
DB) but at any rate the emotional life of the erotically worried and tormented victim must have been ripe for this autocastration before the secondary, external impulses could have driven him to do what he did.

S.178
aber jedenfalls mußte das Seelenleben des erotisch hinreichend Beängstigten und Gemarterten schon reif für diese Selbstkasteiung gewesen sein, ehe die sekundären, äußeren Anstöße zur Tat getrieben haben konnten.

RS) but at any rate the emotions of the considerably erotically tormented victim must have been quite ripe for this self punishment, prior to any secondary, external impulses which may have driven him to perform the act.


p. 216
DB) Just as every good invention at once becomes incorporated into the body politic for its welfare, so it was the case with circumcision also.

p. 185
Br) Wie jede gute Erfindung sofort in die Wohlfahrts-Einrichtung des Statskörpers einverleibt wird, so erging es auch der Beschneidung.

RS) Just as every other good discovery immediately becomes incorporated in the state social welfare system, such was the case with circumcision.


BERGER`S TRANSLATION of PLOSS
an inadvisable piece - showing that
a better translation was needed and is offered here

p. 137

Heinrich Ploss (p. 368 f.) says the following on the purpose of circumcision: "The purpose and aim of circumcision is to be found, in my opinion, in the endeavor to correct nature, to come to its aid in its supposed "aberrations" and to bring about a condition of the sexual organs considered to be normal for adults, and which is seldom, if ever, found naturally in small children, very often not yet accomplished by the age of puberty, and the absence of which even extends into full maturity, perhaps a disadvantage to sexual functions; it is an attempt to remove phimosis, for a person afllicted with it is considered to be less capable of procreation. In order to

p. 138

unterstand this, one must be cognizant of the transformation of the penis that gradually takes place as a rule, even if not always, up to the age when the individual becomes eapable of procreation. The foreskin, which covers the glans, is always so formed in the infant that it may be drawn back over the glans only with difnculty or actual foree; gradually, in relation to the whole growing member (penis), it becomes much more distensible at its opening, so that later it usually slips back by itself, especially when the penis is in a state of erection. The new-born child, consequently, regularly has a phimosis, i. e. such a lengthening of the foreskin, together with a narrowness at its opening, that it cannot be shoved back behind the crown of the glans (which in the adult is conductive to ejaculation during coitus).

If now, it was noticed everywhere, without question, also among primitive peoples that are inapproachable and difficult to observe, that the youth who is becoming a man not infrequently begins to have his glans free, beeause the prepuce shifts back by itself' and comes to lie behind the crown, and that also in the full grown man it is exceptional for the glans to be covered by the foreskin during erection, the covering of the glans by the prepuce appeared to be a condition that was not normal and that ought early and universally to be correeted in advance 2. "I consequently consider the original tendency of circumcision to have been a surgical act of preparation for the sexual funetion of man. The covering of the glans by the foreskin, always present in the youth to a certain extent, the condition of phimosis present since earliest childhood, was looked upon as more or less a hindrance to coitus, something to be removed by surgical interfereiice. That is why it is that most people cut or amputate

1) as a rule boys anticipate this manually. (B.)

2) Ploss contradicts himself, since he says that the prepuce shifts back by itself, and the glans is uncovered during erection; there is thus no reason for circumci- sion. (B.)

2) Ploss does not contradict hiumself since he says this usually is the case; he emphasises it is the appearance and the fear of this in the childs phimosis, which motivated the operation. (RS.)

p. 139

the foreskin in that period of life when maturity for sexual sensation, puberty, has been arrived at3; there is the desire to make the youth fully mature and normal sexually all at once. Thus an act is performed whereby the young man is also received into the ranks of the mature, marriageable men; it is bound up with certain ceremonies that symbolize this reception; let one also keep in mind the pain caused by the operation on the very sensitive masculine sexual organ, which is looked upon as a kind of test of manly staunchness. But this operation, preparing the individual for sexual maturity, is also performed at a very early age, e. g. by the Jews and Mohammedans; here it is felt that the Kondition of natural unreadiness is to be counteracted in the infant. It is desired to guarantee even to the child as great an issue as possible and not to rely on chance whether the phimosis observed and probably a hindrance to procreation will once disappear of itself or remain constant. Then it was looked upon as a deed pleasing to God; for the Jews considered it very valuable in itself to have numerous offspring. "It is . . . not to be denied that the absence of the foreskin, be it the result of congenital malformation, accidental removal or purposed Amputation, affords many more advantages than disadvantages, lessening on the one hand the sensitivity of the glans, on the other, the tendency toward excoriation and inflammation. The cleanliness of the surface of the glans may more easily be maintained, the collection and disintegration of mucous (smegma) is prevented, gonorrhoea of the glans is avoided and eruptions (especially syphilitic) cannot become so easily established. Therefore many physicians are of the opinion that the consideration of all these advantages and disadvantages was, in its time, perhaps the only reason for the introduction of circumcision, and that That is, at the age when the foreskin already "shifts back by ltself." (B.) 139

p. 140

in the Orient and warm countries was indeed justified entirely by the constrieted state of the foreskin. "In respect to this view I must again emphasize that it is only in very few cases that the definite and actual purpose of taking hygienie precautionary measures is openly expressed in the introduction and execution of circumcision, only very few peoples, e. g. the Samoans, speeifically emphasizing sanitary considerations, the furtherance of cleanliness, etc. An uncommonly large number of peoples that practice circumcision, show, on the contrary, very little passion for cleanliness, and it is hardly to be assumed that they make an exception of the masculine organ in particular. There must be another psychic motive that induced them to undertake the operation".

Navigation Hierarchy
Chapter Three
ANTHROPOLOGY
The Origins of Routine Male Circumcision
Phimosis Through the Ages
Bryk

reference: http://www.male-initiation.net/anthropology/bryk/bryk_trans.html
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