II. (8) These considerations have come to our ears, having been discussed of old among men of divine spirit and wisdom, who have interpreted the writings of Moses in no superficial or careless manner. But, besides what has been already said, I also look upon circumcision to be a symbol of two things of the most indispensable importance. (9) First of all, it is a symbol of the excision of the pleasures which delude the mind; for since, of all the delights which pleasure can afford, the association of man with woman is the most exquisite, it seemed good to the lawgivers to mutilate the organ which ministers to such connections; by which rite they signified figuratively the excision of all superfluous and excessive pleasure, not, indeed, of one only, but of all others whatever, though that one which is the most imperious of all. (10) The second thing is, that it is a symbol of a man’s knowing himself, and discarding that terrible disease, the vain opinion of the soul; for some men, like good statuaries, have boasted that they can make that most beautiful animal, man; and, being puffed up with arrogance, have deified themselves, hiding from sight the true cause of the creation of all things namely, God, although they might have corrected that error from a consideration of other persons among whom they live; (11) for there are among them many men who have no children, and many barren women whose connections lead to nothing, so that they grow old in childlessness. We must therefore eradicate evil opinions from the mind, and all other ideas which are not devoted to God. This, then, is enough to say on these subjects. (12) But we must now turn to the special and particular laws; and first of all to those which relate to those people by whom it is well to be governed, those which have been enacted concerning Monarchy.{2}{yonge’s translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On Monarchy, Book I. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= III in Loeb). Yonge’s “treatise” concludes with number IX (= XI in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.}