[b-greek] Re: dat. in James 3:18

From: Matthew W. Farrell (mwfarrell@mindex.com)
Date: Thu Apr 12 2001 - 14:28:31 EDT

"Jon D. Boyd" wrote:

> James 3:18
> How is the dative TOIS POIOUSIN used in this verse? I'm thinking that it
> could be a dative of advantage ("is sown FOR those who make peace") or a
> dative of means ("is sown BY MEANS of those who make peace"), or some
> might want to call it a dative of agency ("is sown BY those who make
> peace"), although the only clear instances of this category occur with a
> perfect passive verb (acc. to Wallace).

Matt Farrell Responds:

The dative here may here reflect both advantage and agency (probably not means).
Sometimes we tend to want establish clear cut conclusion regarding categorical
functions in Greek, but I think they it is important to remember that they are not
always exclusive in their function, rather, they often overlap, and I think this is

Regarding advantage, clearly James wants to support his assertion that the Christian
community is to be involved in bring peace and caring for their neighbors, and he is
sure to mention that for those whose faith is expressed in works, they will be blessed
(James 1:25). Also, as Luke Timothy Johnson (The Letter of James [AB] p. 275) reminds
us, James makes use of the Jesus tradition, and this verse may reflect Matt. 5:9
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."

Regarding agency, the author of James implies that the Christian community ought to be
agents of peace (James 2:16) and so agency is contextually supported.

Therefore, both uses of the dative in the context of 3:18 are supported by the rest of
the letter, and I suggest they are both appropriate. Certainly they are both
grammatically possible.

Matthew W. Farrell

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:55 EDT