UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


The Masculine Body as Property of His God

27 April 2022, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

putple square with 'sacred ink: body marking through the ages' writton on it

Sacred Ink: Body marking through the ages online lecture by Dr Sandra Jacobs (Leo Baeck College/King's College London)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Casey MacKenzie Johnson



With man modelled on “the image of God” (Genesis 1:27) what was the purpose of the circumcision for new-born males? As with all other body cuts and tattoos mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, such rites contravene the prohibition of gashing flesh and skin marking in Leviticus 19:28. Yet the marking of the male body was, nonetheless, clearly understood as a visible sign of an Israelite’s devotion to his deity. This lecture will explore some of these physical marks in biblical sources, in light of the consecration formula for oblates (širku) to temples in the Neo-Babylonian period‒and which illuminate the purpose of such conventions.

Sacred Ink: Body marking through the ages programme (PDF)

The Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies is hosting the Sacred Ink eLecture series, which focuses on body marking for ritualistic, aesthetic, and other benign purposes throughout the ages, from Ancient Egypt up to the present day. The eLectures take place each Wednesday from 27 April until 1 June 2022 from 16:00 until 17:00BST via Zoom. We are delighted to invite you to this free online event and we look forward to seeing you in one of the meetings.

Please note the lectures will not be recorded.

About the Speaker

Dr Sandra Jacobs

Teaching Fellow at Leo Baeck College and King's College London

Dr Jacobs currently teaches Between The Testaments: An Introduction to Second Temple Jewish Literature at the college, and has previously taught Biblical and Targumic Aramaic Language and Grammar. Her doctoral thesis appeared as The Body as Property: Physical Disfigurement in Biblical Law (Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Series 582; London and New York: T & T Clarke/Bloomsbury Academic, 2014, repr. 2015), and recent publications include a new study of  “ ‘The Disposable Wife’ as Property in the Hebrew Bible,” in Gender, Methodology, and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Second Workshop Held in Barcelona, February 1-3 2017 (eds. S. Budin, M. Cifarelli, A. Garcia-Ventura and A. Millet-Albà; Barcelona: Barcino Monographica Orientalia, in print).

Her further bibliography is available at https://kcl.academia.edu/SandraJacobs

More about Dr Sandra Jacobs