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The Meaning of Apa

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Chapter Summary

About forty years ago the author heard the respected scholar, W. H. P. Hatch, remark in a lecture that the particle αρα had lost any meaning. It has been stated often that αρα cannot be translated. This statement implies that there is a meaning elusive though it may be, and it further suggests that one may often be perplexed as to the sense, if there be any. Surely clarity and consistency of meaning must be established before satisfactory translation is possible. The traditional and commonplace meaning given is the inferential "then, so, therefore", if it is translated at all. Close analysis would suggest that the inferential idea is expressed by the context itself, whether or not the particle αρα is present. This chapter concludes with an αρα proposal: "Can it be that this meaning should be adopted in any future Greek lexicon?".

Keywords: αρα; Greek lexicon; inferential idea; W.H.P. Hatch

10.1163/9789004266650_016
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