Re: Dative of extent of time?

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 10:28:31 -0500

At 6:16 AM -0500 8/21/96, I wrote, with regard to John 14:9:
> >
> > So long a time with you I am and not you have known me?
> Here we go again. Need I say that I'm confused? Pretty obvious, isn't it? I
> just noticed that phrase TOSOUTWi XRONWi and it occurred to me to wonder
> why in the world it's DATIVE if its referring to HOW LONG Philip has known
> Jesus. Why is it not ACCUSATIVE? What are the implications of the dative
> usage here--or is this one (other) Johannine "solecism"? Something I'll
> have to check on once I get to the office this morning!

I don't know if anyone else cares about this, but this strange dative
awakened me out of dogmatic slumbers yesterday morning. Why dative here? AT
Robertson discusses at some length the use of the dative to express extent
of time and ends up saying, "Certainly the accusative is the most frequent
idiom in the N.T. for the idea of extension of time, as can be seen in Mk
2:19, Lk 13:8, Ac 13:18, Rev 20:3, etc. In Jn 14:9 WH have TOSOUTON XRONON
in the text and put TOSOUTWi XRONWi in the margin." BDF (Blass, I think),
#201: "The temporal dative in answer to the questio;n 'how long?' is used
instead of the accusative, contrary to classical usage. Its position is
secure, however, only with transitive verbs along with scattered examples
with the passive, while the acusative is retained with intransitives." John
14:9 is apparently an exception, in that TOSOUTWi XRONWi here appears with
the intransitive verb EIMI. It appears there is meager MS support for
TOSOUTON XRONON (Vaticanus included?); the dative must be original.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR