From K. Weitzmann and M. Bernabò, The Byzantine Octateuchs (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1994)

Upon entering the promised land, the Israelite men stand before Joshua to await circumcision, in this scene from the Joshua Rotulus, an illustrated scroll of the Book of Joshua made in Constantinople in the tenth century. The Lord commands this mass circumcision at Foreskins Hill (Gibeath-haaraloth) near Gilgal, to “make Israel a circumcised people again” (Joshua 5:2). Apparently, the ritual was not carefully upheld during the 40 years of wandering in the desert.

Immediately after, the Israelites hold their first Passover meal in the Promised Land at Gilgal, leading author Propp to suggest that the ancient Israelite tribal ritual may have consisted of a mass circumcision followed by a group feast. According to Propp, the transformation of circumcision into a family affair, focused on a single infant, may have been part of a dramatic cultural shift in Israel in the eighth century B.C.E., when older tribal loyalties gave way to a belief in individualism.