Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The Latin word virga usually translates as “staff” or occasionally “rod” or “wand.” There are multiple occasions of the appearance of a virga in iconography, most often in early Christian art of the 3rd–5th centuries CE when figures such as Jesus, Peter, and Moses are depicted bearing some type of staff or wand-like instrument. The virga more recently inspired a debate among art historians and early Christian scholars on the subject of whether Jesus wielding the virga insinuates him …

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Jefferson, Lee M., “Virga”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 22 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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