Re[3]: Dative of extent of time?

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 22 Aug 96 14:10:03 MST

At 4:10 PM -0500 8/22/96, wrote:
>> >> 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
>> question '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.<<
>Good observation Carl.

Ah--but see the response I just posted to Don Wilkins upon discovering that p66 and p75 have TOSOUTON XRONON. The accusative may be the original after all! (I make no assertions one way or the other).

This is the sort of thing that fascinates me: competing usages and transition from one phase of language to another. It's going on all the time and one can see it readily even in classical Attic, where we have future passives for BLAPTW as both BLAFQHSOMAI and BLABHSOMAI.

>Thanks for the feedback on the previous examples. Please disregard my
>investigative heart, but I did a search in the Septuagint to see if it had some
>examples. Would not Job 32:6 qualify also?
>LXT Job 32:6 u`polabwn de Elious o` tou Baracihl o`
>Bouziths eipen newteros men EIMI TWi XRONWi u`meis
>de este presbuteroi ...
>NIV Job 32:6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:
>"I am young in years, and you are old; ...
>How about Jer 31:1 with ESOMAI?
>LXT Jeremiah 38:1 en TWi XRONWi ekeinw eipen kurios ESOMAI eis qeon tw genei
>NIV Jeremiah 31:1 "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of
>all the clans of Israel,

But isn't the first of these a dative of respect qualifying the adjectives NEWTEROS? And the second is a locative usage with EN to indicate time WHEN, standard at all periods.
>The problem with GINOMAI is that there is the idiomatic EGENETO ("it came to
>be at that time..."), so I am unsure if it should be considered but cannot
>find a grammatical reason to disqualify it. Here is one example:
>LXT Genesis 26:1 egeneto de limos epi ths ghs cwris tou limou tou proteron os
>EGENETO en TWi XRONWi tw Abraam
>NIV Genesis 26:1 Now there was a famine in the land-- besides the earlier
>famine of Abraham's time--

This again is, I think, a locative dative of time WHEN. Found in every zoo. The rare bird is the dative of EXTENT of time, where an accusative might have been expected, at least in earlier Greek (and most of the time, apparently, even in Koine of the NT period. I suspect also that the Atticizing movement of the second century with its reversion to Attic usage among educated writers--coming along simultaneously with the spread of Christianity increasingly to better-educated people--may retard this development of a Dative of extent of time.

A fascinating problem.

Best regards, c