Re: have

From: Randy Leedy (
Date: Sat Aug 23 1997 - 15:32:11 EDT

With reference to Carl Conrad's response to Rick Strelan's inquiry
about the difference between the expressions for "have" in Acts 3:6,
I offer the following observation for what it may be worth. I don't
think a purely Greek analysis of these expressions is possible,
inasmuch as hUPARCEIN construed with the dative has a very Semitic
ring to it, parallel to HYH plus the L preposition. Perhaps Carl can
shed some further light on the extent to which native Greek evidences
this construction, and the extent to which each of the copulas (EIMI,
hUPARCW, and GI(G)NOMAI) appears in such constructions. I've always
been a bit curious about just how Semitic the "dative of possession"
used with a copula may be, and now I have an opportunity to prod Carl
for a bit more light on the question.

My first reaction is that there is no semantic difference between the
two expressions in this verse and that we're looking at an instance
of purely stylistic variation. But I'm open to correction.

After writing this far, I decided to check a couple of grammars
before pressing SEND. I see that BDF makes no reference to Semitism
in this construction, and Robertson calls it perfectly natural, both
in Greek and in Latin. BDF also has this comment, which seems to
apply reasonably well here: "The classical distinction, whereby the
genitive is used when the acquisition is recent or the emphasis is on
the possessor and the dative when the object possessed is to be
stressed, is customarily preserved [in the NT]" (sec. 189).

I'm still interested in any informed comments on the possibility that
Semitic influence may be shading out the distinctive Classical usage
of the dative of possession. But even Turner, who likes to point out
Semitic influence, doesn't mention it in discussing this
construction, so I may have a weak case. I should point out, however,
that the construction that BDF contrasts with the dative of
possession is not that which uses the verb ECW but rather the simple
genitive of possession. So I think I still have at least a weak leg
to stand on in suggesting that the difference in this verse really is
not semantic.

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

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