Both John the Baptist and Jesus were circumcised on the 8th day, according to Old Testament laws.

Luke 1:57-60 English Standard Version (ESV)

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.”

Luke 2:21-39 English Standard Version (ESV)

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Did a priest come to the home to perform the circumcision? Were there formal traditions or prayers recited, and if so, what do we know about them and how do we know about them?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is really about cultural history, not Christian doctrine or practice.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 25, 2017 at 1:16
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    Though the question does relate to Christianity, it's simply to broad, and contains too many distinct questions, to be answered in the relatively short format of C.SE. This is a topic that could easily take up an entire book. Oct 25, 2017 at 3:31
  • I will edit to narrow the question to the practice in Jesus' day in the hopes that it will not be closed.
    – MutluAnne
    Oct 25, 2017 at 16:40
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    This question might be better asked (if properly worded) at Mi Yodeya.
    – bradimus
    Oct 25, 2017 at 17:34
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    @curiousdannii I don't see how the practice of circumcision is not about the practice of Christianity, especially in light of the fact that Paul addresses it several times and that many modern Christians practice it today, albeit as more of a cultural phenomenon rather than a religious one.
    – user3961
    Oct 26, 2017 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


I got some interesting discussion in the comments when I asked this question at Mi Yodeya.

The comments reflect various thoughts on whether it would have been practiced the same in Jesus' time as compared to today, according to the Jewish law (halacha), and why it matters (or doesn't). There were also some incomplete answers in the comments, such as quotes of prayers or blessings that might be said and indications of who is qualified to perform the circumcision.

There was a link for an informative article about how circumcision is practiced today. I accepted the answer at Mi Yodeya. You can view it at this link:


  • While I’m concerned that this is a link-only answer, given that it just generally describes the contents of the Mi Yodea answers without giving any specifics, I don’t really know how you could add those specifics without risking plagiarism of the existing answer. Oct 31, 2017 at 22:51

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