[b-greek] Re: John 1:6 ONOMA AUTW

From: Steven R. Lo Vullo (doulos@appleisp.net)
Date: Sun Sep 09 2001 - 02:05:53 EDT

on 9/8/01 11:20 PM, Harry W. Jones at hjbluebird@aol.com wrote:

> Does any one know why the Dative AUTW was used here instead
> of the Genitive AUTOU?

This is known as a dative of possession, which Wallace defines as follows:

"The dative of possession functions like a genitive of possession under
certain conditions....

The dative substantive possesses the noun to which it is related. In other
words, the dative of possession is that to which the subject of an equative
verb belongs. This occurs with equative verbs such as EIMI, GINOMAI, and
hUPARCW. It possesses the subject of such verbs. The usage is not especially

He goes on to explain the semantics as follows:

"1) In general, the difference between an indirect object and a possessive
dative has to do with act (as seen in the transitive verb) and resultant
state (as seen in the equative verb). For example, EDWKEN TO BIBLION MOI
('he gave me the book') becomes TO BIBLION ESTI MOI ('the book is mine').

"2) In this connection, the distinction in force between a genitive of
possession and a dative of possession can be analyzed: 'the genitive is used
when the acquisition is recent or the emphasis is on the possessor . . . and
the dative [is used] when the object possessed is to be stressed.' [BDF] The
reason for this distinction seems to be more related to the verb than the
case: the dative of possession is used almost exclusively with the equative
verb, and the object to be possessed is typically the subject of the verb.
Hence, since a state rather than an act is in view, the emphasis naturally
falls on the object, and any notion of recent acquisition is absent." HTH

Steve Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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