Beautiful to God and Ethical Datives - Ethical???

Wes Williams WesWilliams at usa.net
Mon Jan 4 01:23:37 EST 1999


I have several questions resulting from the grammar found at Acts 7:20, that
Moses was ASTEIOS TWi QEWi.

Some translations of this expression are:
exceeding fair
no ordinary child
lovely in the sight of God
divinely beautiful

This is similar to the expression in Jonah 3:3, that Ninevah was POLIS
MEGALH TWi QEWi. ("Great to God" or "exceedingly great").

This is perhaps a Hebraism from LeElohim, as in "River of God," "Mountain of
God, etc." Applying to Moses, one application is that "in the opinion of
God," Moses was beautiful. Thus arises the superlative.

My question is that some grammars classify this is an Ethical Dative rather
than a Dative of Reference (e.g. BDF 192). Why? What is "ethical" about it?


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