View Full Version : A method for finding hapax legomena in the Gospels

04-14-2008, 10:12 AM
Hi! I'm a Canadian student, working on my PhD in Scripture in Ireland right now. As part of my study, I want to examine how a particular translation has dealt with rare terms in his rendering of the Four Gospels.
Is there a way within BibleWorks to get a listing of hapax legomena in the Gospels (i.e. words that occur only once anywhere in the Four Gospels), according to their lexical/dictionary form? I know that the Word List Manager can be somewhat helpful, but it seems to provide every word in every conjugation and declension, which is extremely tedious and time-consuming to go through. Is there some way to get a list of these hapax forms, by their lexical/root form?
Thanks for any assistance you can provide!
Murray Watson

04-14-2008, 10:29 AM
Hi Murray,

Try this:

Tools/vocabulary/open GNTVoc; then go to tools/filter and filter by verse range Mat-Luk and frequency 1 to 1.

John Fidel

04-14-2008, 10:54 AM
Absolutely brilliant....exactly what I was searching for! Thanks so much....you've saved me a MOUNTAIN of time searching word-by-word by hand!

04-14-2008, 11:04 AM
Hi again John....and once again, thanks for drawing my attention to a BibleWorks feature I'd never explored.....HUGELY helpful.
However, I'm a little perplexed. As per your suggestion, I ran a filtered search, with "# of occurrences" set to 1, and limited it to Matthew-Acts (since I want to include Luke-Acts as a single corpus). It generated a list of 1932 hapax, which was very helpful.
However, having already gone through some manual searches, I was rather dismayed to see that the BibleWorks-generated list of hapaxes seemed to be missed some terms. For example, the noun kolasis occurs only one in these books, but BibleWorks didn't include it in the list. The verb nystazo (also hapax) wasn't included either. I've just double-checked with a couple of sources, and am not sure why the BibleWorks vocab list wouldn't have included them in the search....any suggestions?
Thanks again for your help!

04-14-2008, 11:16 AM
I've just been playing around with the various settings in the Vocabulary Flashcard Module, and have been getting a range of results.
I get one set of results if, under the "Filter" settings, I choose "Use frequencies in vocabulary file" (941 results listed as hapax).
If I choose "Calculate frequencies from verse range," I get 1338 results!
I don't know enough about this module to know what the significant difference is, and which of these options is most likely to give me the results I need.
Perhaps the first option is based on the frequencies throughout the whole NT, whereas the second is based only on the chapters and verses selected? If so, then probably the second option is my best bet for this.
Any ideas?

04-14-2008, 11:17 AM
Hi Murray,

Go back to the tool/filter and select "Calculate frequencies from verse range".

I get 1338 words used 1 time in the Gospels+Acts, including Kolasis

John Fidel

Glenn Weaver
04-15-2008, 09:29 AM
There are some advantages to using the Word List Manager(WLM). It offers a lot more flexibility, and works with more versions and book ranges than only the GNT and WTT.

To find all the words that only occur one time in the four Gospels, use the following steps.

Start on the Command Line (CL).
--Set the BNM as your search version.
--Then set your search limits to the four Gospels, Mat-Joh.

Now open the WLM. Click the "Load or Generate Word List" button.
--The BNM is the search version.
--The Source should be the top radio button, "Load words from a Bible version."
--Under Verse Range Limits, check the box to "Use Search Window limits."
--Under Other options, uncheck all the boxes. (If you do not uncheck the "Keep morph codes" box, every inflected form of the lemma will appear as its own entry.)
--Now click on the "Create list" button.

In the Word List window you will see all the words that appear in the four Gospels, arranged according to frequency.
--Select the top word in the list.
--Now scroll down to the bottom word that occurs 2 times. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, then select the word with your mouse. This highlights all the words that occur more than one time in the Gospels.
--On the WLM menu select Edit, then select Delete selected. Now you are left with the list of words that only occur one time in the Gospels.

Now you can use these words in a variety of ways. You can click on individual words to search for them. Or you can select File on the WLM menu and save the list to a RTF or text file.

You can also make a lexicon of these words. You can also save this list of words as an IEL (inclusion/exclusion list). This can be very powerful, as the Graphical Search Engine can open and search using an IEL list. In this way you could find, for example, places in the Gospels where there is a large concentration of Hapax Legomenon words. The Detailed Stats graphic would show where these hits are located in a graph.

In the WLM you can also compare vocabulary lists. Once you have your Gospels hapax legomenon list, you could also create a list of hapax words in the remainder of the NT, and compare these lists to see what words may only occur once in the Gospels, but which occur in other parts of the NT.

Hope this helps. I think I will expand this a bit and send this out as a future Classroom Tip.