Re: Definition of Hapax Legomena

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Apr 08 1998 - 07:44:33 EDT

At 6:10 AM -0500 4/8/98, Mark Goodacre wrote:
>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).

This seems highly idiosyncratic to me. I've always understood it in
reference to a single instance in all exstant Greek literature or else,
when clearly indicated, in any particular text or author.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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