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"The Finger of God" Miscellaneous Notes on Luke 11:20 and its Umwelt

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates what kind of associations the metaphor of the finger(s) of (the) God(s) evoked in the ancient world, among pagan Greeks and Romans as well as among Jews and Christians. As will be seen, this imagery was not a widespread one, the idea of a God's hand(s) being much more current, but the "finger of God" did have some particular associations. One of the earliest Jewish writers to reflect upon the meaning of God's finger is Philo of Alexandria. In the long version of Joseph and Aseneth one can find the expression "finger of God" twice. There is a reference to the finger of God in a text of which the religious affiliation is doubtful, that is to say, it is probably heavily syncretistic but there is some debate as to whether or not it may have been influenced by Luke 11:20.

Keywords: Christians; finger of God; Greeks; Jews; Luke 11:20; Philo of Alexandria; Romans



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