x Times: Indicating Multiple Occurrences

At times an author may wish to indicate that a term or concept appears multiple times in a pericope. When such a notation occurs in the main text, spell out the word times or use an equivalent phrase (e.g., twice). When the notation occurs in parentheses or a note, use an arabic numeral + “x” (no space between the number and the x).

The reinforcing use of the infinitive absolute הרע is found in the Hebrew Bible only twice, at 1 Sam 12:25a and 1 Chr 21:17.

16. The question השלום is asked more persistently in 2 Kgs 9 (5x).

“Altar” is mentioned three times in relation to Jerusalem and Judah (2 Kgs 23:9, 12 [2x]) and five times in connection with Josiah’s reforms in Bethel and the north (23:15 [2x], 16, 17, 20).

38. Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible התהלך לפני is found only in Gen 17:1; 24:40; 48:15; 1 Sam 12:2 (2x); Esth 2:11; Pss 56:14; 116:9.

As the last two examples above illustrate, when a term or concept appears multiple times in a single verse, include the notation in parentheses or brackets immediately following the verse citation.

When appropriate, include the specific references in parentheses or a note.

Example 1: The title verse of the book of Amos dates his visionary work to the days of Uzziah and of Jeroboam II, and the book mentions Bethel critically several times and Dan once.

Better: The title verse of the book of Amos dates his visionary work to the days of Uzziah and of Jeroboam II, and the book mentions Bethel critically several times (3:14; 4:4; 5:5–6) and Dan once (8:14).

Example 2: משסה (v. 14) is a term for “booty” five times in the Latter Prophets.

Better: משסה (v. 14) is a term for “booty” five times in the Latter Prophets.15

15. Isa 42:22, 24; Jer 30:16; Hab 2:7; Zeph 1:13. In Isa 42:22, as here, combined with the more common בז.

The phrase “when appropriate” requires a certain degree of authorial judgment. It is common for authors, especially those still operating in “dissertation mode,” to show their work by listing all the references relevant to a specific point. We discourage this dumping of concordance lists into parentheses and notes for several reasons. First, including long lists of references tends to clutter the text and thus detract from the main point being communicated. Second, such reference lists are rarely used by readers and thus serve no meaningful purpose. Third, readers who wish to explore a given point generally know how to use a print concordance or electronic search program; an author need only point such readers in the right direction, not do their work for them. Fourth and last, if the material is to be published in a book, each of those hundreds (or thousands) of references will need to be collected into an index; multiplying references unnecessarily turns a miserable task into a monstrous one.

We recommend that authors provide selective evidence to support their arguments. One, two, or three examples generally suffice to illustrate a point being made and do not run the risk of overshadowing that point in the process.

The examples here have been modified from:

Auld, A. Graeme. 2017. Life in Kings: Reshaping the Royal Story in the Hebrew Bible. Atlanta: SBL Press.

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