An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A Greek word that, literally translated, means “a thing uttered” or “something said.” The term is used by form critics who focus on the editing of the gospels. The English terms used include the words “paradigm,” “pronouncement story,” and “anecdote.” An apophthegm or pronouncement story refers to units in the gospels where Jesus is quoted as saying something very important as a conclusion to a situation. The situation which precedes the pronouncement helps to clarify the meaning of the statement. It is one of the most important and most used forms in the form critical approach. It occurs a significant number of times in the gospels. Form criticism raises the question about the validity of the material that precedes the pronouncement. It raises the question whether this material was added later as a way of trying to explain to the listeners why Jesus would make such a statement. See Form Criticism.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.