[B-Greek] Special use of the dative James 4:17

Webb Mealy webb at selftest.net
Thu Nov 20 11:03:32 EST 2008

I'd call it a dative of respect or relation, and English it as "it's sin for
him", making hAMARTIA a predicate nom. It's sin in his regard, or it's sin
in relation to him. James's assumption is that the thing not done is not sin
in relation to the person who *does not* know the good thing that should be
done and fails to do it. In relation to that person the "not doing" is not

Webb Mealy

-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Carl Conrad
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 6:10 AM
To: Mark Cain
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Special use of the dative James 4:17

On Nov 20, 2008, at 8:02 AM, Mark Cain wrote:

> Dative of disadvantage?
> I was discussing this passage with a friend the other day and his  
> take on this passage is that "hAMARTIA AUTW ESTIN" uses not a true  
> dative in the sense of the indirect object, but a dative of  
> advantage - disadvantage.  I wasn't sure and had to do some research  
> -- but it seems that the dative of dis/advantage occurs mostly  
> around verbs of buying, selling, depriving and motion.
> What do you think?  Is this a special use of the dative, or is it  
> simple the indirect object?  Is there a general grammatical rule for  
> the use of EIMI + dative?

I think I'd call it a dative of possession (and I'd call that a true  
dative rather than a locative or instrumental dative): "A sin is his  
(belongs/accrues to him) who knows how to do good and doesn't do it."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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