Definition of Hapax Legomena

From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Wed Apr 08 1998 - 07:10:57 EDT

How do you define a hapax legomenon?

I have always worked with the following definitions, both of
which seem to be current in NT scholarship:

    1. A word which occurs only once in the New Testament

    2. A word that occurs only once in a given document (say,
    Matthew), hence "this word is a hapax in Matthew" etc.

        - And one might add to this that one often has talk about
        hapaxes in Luke-Acts

Now, my problem is that I am working through a book at the moment
that seems to be working with another definition, but a definition
that I do not understand. The book is Kim Paffenroth, *The Story of
Jesus According to L* (JSNTSup, 147; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic
Press, 1997). p. 70 describes hapax legomena as "words that occur
nowhere else in Luke-Acts" (which would fit in with definition 2
above) but p. 73 goes on to discuss "hapax legomena that occur in
more than one L pericope", listing words like BRECW (Luke 7.38, 44;
17.29) and GAMOS (Luke 12.36; 14.8), concluding about such words, "Of
the thirteen hapax legomena that occur in more than one L pericope .
. ." (p.78).

Any ideas?


Dr Mark Goodacre
  Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham

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