The other day on a Bible software forum, I saw a request for help with an interesting search. An individual wanted to find all places where someone’s name is repeated, such as in Luke 10:41 where Jesus says, “Martha, Martha.” How, he wondered, could this pattern be found for any name?

Naturally, such a search is trivial using Accordance. To construct it, open the GNT-T, click the Words button, then open a Greek Construct window by going to File –> New Construct –> Greek or using the keyboard shortcut command-2. In the construct window, drag a Noun element into the first column. In the dialog which opens, select Proper from the Class pop-up menu and click OK. Option-drag the Noun item from the first column to the second column to duplicate it. Your first two columns should now contain identical Noun proper elements. Next drag the AGREE item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog which opens, check Lexical form.


Construct search for a proper noun repeated twice


That’s all there is to it! Click the Search button to perform the search. The results will be displayed in the Search window containing the GNT-T. A quick look at the results will show that this search did indeed find cases where an individual was addressed twice, but it also found cases like Matthew 1 where a name is used at the end of one clause and at the beginning of another. To eliminate these hits, open the More options section of the window and change the Search within every pop-up from Verse to Clause. This specifies that our search results must all appear within the same clause.

Running this search eliminates Matthew 1, but there are still other hits which are not exactly what we are looking for, such as Matthew 22:21. In this verse, Kaisar (Caesar) is repeated, but once in the accusative case (“the things which are Caesar’s”) and once in the dative case (“to Caesar”). Likewise, the question “How can Satan drive out Satan?” in Mark 3:23 has the name Satan repeated, but in two different cases. To eliminate these hits, go back to the Construct window, double-click the Agree item, and check Case to specify that these proper nouns must agree in case as well as in lexical form.

This search now returns seven hits in which the same address is repeated. There’s “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” in Matthew 22:37 and Luke 13:34, “Martha, Martha” in Luke 10:41, “Simon, Simon” in Luke 22:31, and “Saul, Saul” in Acts 9:3, 22:6, and 26:14. It’s interesting to note that with the exception of Matthew 22:37, all of these occurrences appear within the writings of Luke.

So is this a peculiarly Lukan construction? To find out, we could take our construct search and apply it to other Greek texts. The easiest way to do that is to open a Search All window by going to File –> New –> Search All or using the keyboard shortcut control-command-F. In the Search All window, set the language to Greek and the group to [All Bibles]. Then choose LINK from the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu (or use the keyboard shortcut shift-command-L). In the dialog which opens, double-click Greek Construct as the window to which you want to link. Then click the Search button in the Search All window to perform the search.


Search All for Repeated Names


This search returns hits in the tagged Septuagint, Pseudepigrapha, Apocryphal Gospels, Apostolic Fathers, Eusebius, Josephus, and Philo. It would appear therefore that this form of address was fairly common, and is certainly not peculiar to the writings of Luke.

At the risk of repeating myself, the Accordance construct window makes it easy to find patterns such as these, and even to apply such searches to multiple texts.