Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby Penn Tomassetti » December 27th, 2013, 11:20 pm

Would anyone be able to help me understand why New Testament and Septuagint Greek sometimes use the dative case for referring directly to a person's name, while other times the genitive case is used?

Could this be due to ellipsis? Perhaps there was a longer phrase that was later shortened down to two or three words?

(I came upon this question while searching for common New Testament phrases; such as "What is your name?" "My name is . . .?" etc.)

Examples:

1) And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Τί τὸ ὄνομά σού ἐστιν; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ιακωβ.
(Genesis 32:27, LXX)

2) And he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him “My name is Legion, because we are many.”
καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν.
(Mark 5:9, UBS text)

Any help in understanding this will be greatly appreciated.
Penn Tomassetti
 
Posts: 11
Joined: December 19th, 2013, 10:08 pm

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby David Lim » December 29th, 2013, 1:12 am

Penn Tomassetti wrote:1) And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Τί τὸ ὄνομά σού ἐστιν; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ιακωβ. (Genesis 32:27, LXX)

This is literally "What is your name?".

Penn Tomassetti wrote:2) And he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him “My name is Legion, because we are many.”
καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. (Mark 5:9, UBS text)

This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me". See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... on-62.html, where it is called the "dative of possession".
δαυιδ λιμ
David Lim
 
Posts: 885
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby cwconrad » December 29th, 2013, 7:01 am

David Lim wrote:
Penn Tomassetti wrote:1) And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Τί τὸ ὄνομά σού ἐστιν; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ιακωβ. (Genesis 32:27, LXX)

This is literally "What is your name?".

"Literal" in the sense that it's equivalent to the standard English usage. This is actually less common in ordinary Greek than the usage with the dative.

Penn Tomassetti wrote:2) And he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him “My name is Legion, because we are many.”
καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. (Mark 5:9, UBS text)

David Lim wrote:This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me". See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... on-62.html, where it is called the "dative of possession".


This is the standard Greek mode of indicating ownership. I think it's wrong, however, to suggestion that there's an implicit "given" involved; rather this dative is regularly used with an "existential" ἔστι, so that the sense is "Is there a name to/for you" = "Do you have a name?"
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
cwconrad
 
Posts: 1303
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby David Lim » December 29th, 2013, 8:00 am

cwconrad wrote:
Penn Tomassetti wrote:2) And he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him “My name is Legion, because we are many.”
καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. (Mark 5:9, UBS text)

David Lim wrote:This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me". See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... on-62.html, where it is called the "dative of possession".


This is the standard Greek mode of indicating ownership. I think it's wrong, however, to suggestion that there's an implicit "given" involved; rather this dative is regularly used with an "existential" ἔστι, so that the sense is "Is there a name to/for you" = "Do you have a name?"

There isn't an implicit verb corresponding to "given", but I'm not so sure there's much difference in meaning. How does one acquire a name except for being named, or equivalently being given a name? I also think that what Funk said about it being more like a "dative of advantage" than "possession" is accurate, since it explains why for "ονομα" the dative seems not to be used unless signifying more than ownership, typically because it is related to the acquiring of the name. I just did a search in the corpus of the LXX and NT, and the instances of "ονομα" seem to fit this hypothesis. No?
δαυιδ λιμ
David Lim
 
Posts: 885
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 29th, 2013, 9:11 am

Penn Tomassetti wrote:I came upon this question while searching for common New Testament phrases; such as "What is your name?" "My name is . . .?" etc.
The basic form like this is with the dative. Thayer's lexicon gives an example from back in Homer, viz. Οὖτις ἐμοί γ᾿ὄνομα (Hom. Od. 9, 366). Is it ellipsis?

Penn Tomassetti wrote:Could this be due to ellipsis? Perhaps there was a longer phrase that was later shortened down to two or three words?
It is not really an ellipsis. So far as I understand an ellipsis is something that is left out when an authour or a speaker knows with reasonable conviction that other members of the same speech community will be able to fill things in for themselves. There is an element of (almost) choice involved.

What we have here is is an idiomatic phrase. That is something that is in the language that the speakers of the language do not have the "right" to change outside the way that it is used in the language. Here in Greek there are 3 variations in usage; (1) the dative personal pronoun μοί following the word ὄνομα [τὸ ὄνομά μοι Στέφανος], (2) in a relative clause with the relative ᾧ before the ὄνομα [... τὸν συγγραφέα, ᾧ ὄνομα Στέφανος] and (3) with a demonstrative αὐτῷ after the ὄνομα [ὁ συγγραφεύς, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Στέφανος]

You will find a number of other ways of expressing this sort of meaning if you look in a dictionary (Such as Thayer's online) under either ὄνομα or ὀνομάζομαι.

Considering ellipsis (or its corollary - how to spell things out) is useful for other things though...
Penn Tomassetti wrote:1) And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Τί τὸ ὄνομά σού ἐστιν; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ιακωβ. (Genesis 32:27, LXX)
What case do you think that Ἰακώβ is here in this sentence? To do that, we would have to construct some hypothetical grammar after λέγω around the word Ἰακώβ.
  • Would you like to try that?
  • Can you think of a paraphrase(s) for "ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἰακώβ."?
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on December 29th, 2013, 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1223
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby cwconrad » December 29th, 2013, 9:20 am

David Lim wrote:
cwconrad wrote:
Penn Tomassetti wrote:2) And he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him “My name is Legion, because we are many.”
καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. (Mark 5:9, UBS text)

David Lim wrote:This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me". See http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... on-62.html, where it is called the "dative of possession".


This is the standard Greek mode of indicating ownership. I think it's wrong, however, to suggestion that there's an implicit "given" involved; rather this dative is regularly used with an "existential" ἔστι, so that the sense is "Is there a name to/for you" = "Do you have a name?"

There isn't an implicit verb corresponding to "given", but I'm not so sure there's much difference in meaning. How does one acquire a name except for being named, or equivalently being given a name? I also think that what Funk said about it being more like a "dative of advantage" than "possession" is accurate, since it explains why for "ονομα" the dative seems not to be used unless signifying more than ownership, typically because it is related to the acquiring of the name. I just did a search in the corpus of the LXX and NT, and the instances of "ονομα" seem to fit this hypothesis. No?

Sorry, David. Your "literal" always throws me because I think of a "literal version" in terms of a direct representation of the Greek construction in English, whereas you seem to mean rather the equivalent in standard English. My point was that the so-called "Dative of the Possessor" doesn't really correspond to any really comparable English construction.

As for dative usages, I'd be inclined to say that most of the grammarians' subcategories of dative are really "dative of interest/advantage" -- or to put it in the most generalized terms, apart from "instrumental" usages, the dative most commonly indicates the person(s) of interest or concern in the "state of affairs." The dative usage that seems to me more frequent in Hellenistic Greek than in older Greek is the non-personal dative indicating direction of movement.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
cwconrad
 
Posts: 1303
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714

ὄνομα is used with καλεῖν not διδόναι, isn't it?

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 29th, 2013, 9:50 am

David Lim wrote:This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me".
Is the verb "to give" used with ὄνομα? The usual verb seems to be καλεῖν as in
Matthew 1:21 wrote:καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν·
The construction is Verb + 2 accusatives.

Do you have any example where an ὄνομα has been given (διδόναι)?

[Δαυίδ: You might like to access some schoarly opinion about the meaning / significance of ὄνομα in Philipians 2:9 before you give a quick answer using that verse.]
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1223
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby Louis L Sorenson » December 29th, 2013, 2:39 pm

Here are some facts which should be brought into this conversation and some musings. Please correct me where I go astray.

(1) The dative case is absent in modern Greek, though it is omnipresent in Koine, we may expect to see some changes in frequency from the classical usages and frequencies.

(2) A search of TLG-e for the following phrases returns the following:
ὅνομά μοι 29x (many rehashes of Mark 5.9)
ὄνομά μου 566x
ὄνομά σοι 99x (many lxx, nt, church fathers, and magical papyri)
ὄνομά σου 878x
ὄνομα αὐτῷ 410x
ὄνομα αὐτοῦ 1441x (a lot of church fathers, lxx, ecclesiastical writers, Cassius Dio, but very few occurrences in the traditional classical authors)

While one cannot take these statistics as definitive or prescriptive, it can be seen that the genitive construction (which perhaps has more of an adjectival sense) is more prevalent than the dative across the broad spectrum of authors. But more passages talk about a name rather than ascribe a name to someone, and that is one reason the genitive is more prevalent. Perhaps a better search would be ἦν + ὄνομα + αὐτῷ / αὐτοῦ. There are some classical usages of ὄνομα αὐτῷ, though not a lot:

Plato Phil., Protagoras
Stephanus page 315, section e, line 2
ἔδοξα ἀκοῦσαι ὄνομα αὐτῷ εἶναι Ἀγάθωνα, καὶ οὐκ ἂν θαυμάζοιμι
εἰ παιδικὰ Παυσανίου τυγχάνει ὤν.


Dionysius Halicarnassensis Hist., Rhet., Antiquitates Romanae
Book 10, chapter 49, section 2, line 1
Σπόριος Οὐεργίνιος ἦν ὄνομα αὐτῷ.


Athenaeus Soph., Deipnosophistae
Book 8, Kaibel paragraph 61, line 16

ὁ δ' Ἴφικλος
πυθόμενος παρά τινος τὰ τῶν Φοινίκων λόγια καὶ
ἐνεδρεύσας τοῦ Φαλάνθου πιστόν τινα πορευόμενον
ἐφ' ὕδωρ, ᾧ ὄνομα ἦν Λάρκας,


(3) Could Hebrew 'my name,' 'I am called..." שְׁמִי ending in 'i' match up cross-linguistically with Greek μοι because it sounds alike and therefore be used more by Semitic writers of Greek? I doubt it. The genitive is used more by far than the dative in the LXX (e.g. 5x ὄνομά σοι; 97x ὄνομά σου). Even the combination of ὄνομα with the dative or the genitive, is kind of parallel to the Hebrew. 1 Samuel 1.1 is a good example.

1 Sam 1.1:
וַיְהִי֩ אִ֨ישׁ אֶחָ֜ד מִן־הָרָמָתַ֛יִם צוֹפִ֖ים מֵהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וּשְׁמ֡וֹ אֶ֠לְקָנָה
and there was a certain man from ....and his name was Elkanah.
Ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐξ Αρμαθαιμ Σιφα ἐξ ὄρους Εφραιμ, καὶ ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ελκανα

(My Hebrew is very rusty. Is Hebrew שְׁמ֡וֹ equivalent for the name to him "ha-shem lo" "the-name to-him" הָשֵׁם לוֹ? What is the way Hebrew/Aramaic talk about their name most frequently? Note: Hebrew has personal pronoun suffixes on nouns, which Greek does not have, and also adds them to prepositions such as לְ.)

(4) My experience with reading secular non-biblical Greek is that name ownership is expressed differently than we see in the NT examples listed in this thread. Though while the structure as in LXX 1 Sam 1.1 is clear and good Greek, it may also be idiomatic Semitic influenced Greek (i.e. the ὅνομα μοι / ὄνομα μου phrases was the way Semites speaking Greek as a second language most often chose to use when expressing their name in Greek). But it was not the way Greeks talked among themselves. Later in the early 100 and 200's A.D., this phraseology became more frequent in ecclesiastical literature and most probably in spoken language also.

Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:This is literally something like "What is the name for (given to) you?" and "Legion is the name for (given to) me".

Is the verb "to give" used with ὄνομα? The usual verb seems to be καλεῖν as in

Matthew 1:21 wrote:καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν·

The construction is Verb + 2 accusatives.

Do you have any example where an ὄνομα has been given (διδόναι)?

Here is another example:


Zosimus Alchem., Ζωσίμου πρᾶξις βʹ
(e codd. Paris. B.N. gr. 2327, fol. 87v + Laur. gr. 86.16, fol. 93v) Line 31

Τὸ δὲ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐκαλεῖτο Ἀγαθοδαίμων.


Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae
Book 42, chapter 48, section 4, line 3

τούς τε Ἀμισηνοὺς ἐλευ-
θερίᾳ ἠμείψατο, καὶ τῷ Μιθριδάτῃ τῷ Περγαμηνῷ τετραρχίαν τε
ἐν Γαλατίᾳ καὶ βασιλείας ὄνομα ἔδωκε, πρός τε τὸν Ἄσανδρον
πολεμῆσαι ἐπέτρεψεν, ὅπως καὶ τὸν Βόσπορον κρατήσας αὐτοῦ
λάβῃ, ὅτι πονηρὸς ἐς τὸν φίλον ἐγένετο.



Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae
Book 53, chapter 26, section 4, line 4

ὑπὸ δὲ τὸν αὐτὸν τοῦτον χρόνον Μᾶρκος
Οὐινίκιος Κελτῶν τινας μετελθών, ὅτι Ῥωμαίους ἄνδρας ἐς τὴν χώ-
ραν σφῶν κατὰ τὴν ἐπιμιξίαν ἐσελθόντας συλλαβόντες ἔφθειραν,
τὸ ὄνομα καὶ αὐτὸς τὸ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος τῷ Αὐγούστῳ ἔδωκε.




Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae
Book 55, chapter 10, section 8, line 4

οὐ μέντοι καὶ διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ὁ Αὔγου-
στος ὑπάτευσεν, ἀλλ' ἐπ' ὀλίγον ἄρξας ἄλλῳ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς ὑπα-
τείας ἔδωκε.

Louis L Sorenson
 
Posts: 587
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby Louis L Sorenson » December 29th, 2013, 5:05 pm

I wrote above
Perhaps a better search would be ἦν + ὄνομα + αὐτῷ / αὐτοῦ. There are some classical usages of ὄνομα αὐτῷ, though not a lot:
. To clarify classical usage, the dative is norm, but it seems only in the 3rd person.

ὄνομα ἦν 167x (many classical authors)
ἦν ὄνομα 197x (many ecclesiastical authors)
ὄνομα ἐστι 332x (with both genitive and dative specifiers (though not genitive personal pronouns))
ἐστιν ὄνομα 34+


While 1st and 2nd person pronouns are infrequent with ὄνομα in classical authors, the 3rd person is commonly used. There seem to be two common patterns, and almost always with the dative.
(1) name (nom) ὄνομα ἦν αὐτῷ

Demosthenes Orat., Contra Lacritum [Sp.]
Section 32, line 6

πρός τε γὰρ τὸ
πλοῖον τὸ ναυαγῆσαν οὐδὲν ἦν αὐτοῖς συμβόλαιον, ἀλλ' ἦν
ἕτερος ὁ δεδανεικὼς Ἀθήνηθεν ἐπὶ τῷ ναύλῳ τῷ εἰς τὸν Πόντον
καὶ ἐπ' αὐτῷ τῷ πλοίῳ
(Ἀντίπατρος ὄνομα ἦν τῷ δεδανεικότι, Κιτιεὺς τὸ γένος)·
τό τε οἰνάριον τὸ Κῷον ὀγδοήκοντα
στάμνοι ἐξεστηκότος οἴνου, καὶ τὸ τάριχος ἀνθρώπῳ τινὶ
γεωργῷ παρεκομίζετο ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ ἐκ Παντικαπαίου εἰς
Θεοδοσίαν τοῖς ἐργάταις τοῖς περὶ τὴν γεωργίαν χρῆσθαι.



(2) relative pronoun in dative ᾧ ὄνομα ἦν + name (nominative case)

Demosthenes Orat., Contra Leocharem [Sp.]
Section 9, line 3

Τὸ γὰρ ἐξ ἀρχῆς, ὦ ἄνδρες δικασταί, γίγνονται Εὐθυ-
μάχῳ τῷ Ὀτρυνεῖ υἱεῖς τρεῖς, Μειδυλίδης καὶ Ἄρχιππος
καὶ Ἀρχιάδης, καὶ θυγάτηρ ᾗ ὄνομα ἦν Ἀρχιδίκη.


My conclusion rightly or wrongly is that ὄνομα μοι / ὄνομα σοι is not modelling classical usage, but the later and somewhat restricted (Semiticized?) Koine usage. The usage makes sense grammatically, and has attested 3rd person examples; but there is little extant evidence that this is the way Greeks said "I am named...," apart, of course, from the attested NT and LXX examples. There is a thread on this subject on the Ancient Greek Best Practices list at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/ancient-greek-best-practices/ZBlxOir-540
Louis L Sorenson
 
Posts: 587
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA

Re: Ta onómata (names) and the dative case

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 29th, 2013, 11:31 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:
Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae Book 42, chapter 48, section 4, line 3 wrote:τούς τε Ἀμισηνοὺς ἐλευ-
θερίᾳ ἠμείψατο, καὶ τῷ Μιθριδάτῃ τῷ Περγαμηνῷ τετραρχίαν τε
ἐν Γαλατίᾳ καὶ βασιλείας ὄνομα ἔδωκε
, πρός τε τὸν Ἄσανδρον
πολεμῆσαι ἐπέτρεψεν, ὅπως καὶ τὸν Βόσπορον κρατήσας αὐτοῦ
λάβῃ, ὅτι πονηρὸς ἐς τὸν φίλον ἐγένετο.


Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae Book 53, chapter 26, section 4, line 4 wrote:ὑπὸ δὲ τὸν αὐτὸν τοῦτον χρόνον Μᾶρκος
Οὐινίκιος Κελτῶν τινας μετελθών, ὅτι Ῥωμαίους ἄνδρας ἐς τὴν χώ-
ραν σφῶν κατὰ τὴν ἐπιμιξίαν ἐσελθόντας συλλαβόντες ἔφθειραν,
τὸ ὄνομα καὶ αὐτὸς τὸ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος τῷ Αὐγούστῳ ἔδωκε.


Cassius Dio Hist., Historiae Romanae Book 55, chapter 10, section 8, line 4 wrote:οὐ μέντοι καὶ διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ὁ Αὔγου-
στος ὑπάτευσεν, ἀλλ' ἐπ' ὀλίγον ἄρξας ἄλλῳ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς ὑπα-
τείας ἔδωκε
.

Does this construction follow a Latin construction here?
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
Stephen Hughes
 
Posts: 1223
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am
Location: China

Next

Return to Grammar Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest