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

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Nov 20 12:03:36 EST 2008

On Nov 20, 2008, at 11:03 AM, Webb Mealy wrote:

> 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
> sin.

If hAMARTIA is a predicate noun, then what (on earth) is the subject  
of ESTIN? It cannot be KALON POIEIN because that is complementary to  
EIDOTI? The "It" in your English version is an expletive that doesn't  
represent anything in the Greek.

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

> -----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?
>> 4:17
>> 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."

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