Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

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Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby Michael Abernathy » October 23rd, 2012, 11:55 pm

I was reading Romans 6:2
μὴ γένοιτο. οἵτινες ἀπεθάνομεν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, πῶς ἔτι ζήσομεν ἐν αὐτῇ;
Which is usually translated something like,
“May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
If this verse was taken by itself, I wouldn’t have any question about it. But chapter 5 talks about how death came about because of our sin. So is there any reason why we don’t translate the dative like we do in Ephesians 2:1 died in sin?
Eph. 2:1 Καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν,
Sincerely,
Michael Abernathy
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Re: Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 24th, 2012, 6:31 am

In this part of Romans, the singular ἁμαρτία is likened to a kind of power, so I don't see how the cross-reference to Eph 2:1 is on point.
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Re: Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby tdhigg01 » October 26th, 2012, 11:32 am

Well, I think that the datives in the Ephesians passage are datives of respect. Cf. Smyth, 1516: "The dative of manner may denote the particular point of view from which a statement is made." So, we are dead in sin. Compare that to Smyth's example: "a man still young in years." But in the Romans passage, that compound verb, I believe, simply takes the dative. Smyth points out that "many verbs may take the dative either alone or with the accusative" (1471).
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Re: Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby George F Somsel » October 27th, 2012, 1:47 am

My inclination is to take τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ as a dative of respect, but there are factors which make this an interesting question since in Rom 14.8 we find

ἐάν τε γὰρ ζῶμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ζῶμεν, ἐάν τε ἀποθνῄσκωμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ἀποθνῄσκομεν.


It has been said that consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds so perhaps I'm revealing a tendency toward a small mind, but, if we take τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ as a dative of respect, should we not also take the datives in 14.8 as datives of respect also? I can readily understand the concept of living with respect to the Lord, but what is then to be understood regarding dying with respect to the Lord? Yet, this is the traditional understanding of the passage. The redeeming factor here is that it is immediately stated as indicating that it is a possessive relationship

ἐάν τε οὖν ζῶμεν ἐάν τε ἀποθνῄσκωμεν, τοῦ κυρίου ἐσμέν.


This seems more akin to dying IN. The question then becomes whether we must so understand the dative in relation to living and dying consistently since to the Greek it was simply a dative without distinctions such as we might make.
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Re: Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » October 27th, 2012, 3:37 am

tdhigg01 wrote:But in the Romans passage, that compound verb, I believe, simply takes the dative.

I'm wondering what it means for a verb to "simply take the dative." Referring to the section you cited from Smyth, it appears that he's giving examples of verbs which — viewing Greek through the lens of English — take direct objects in the dative rather than the accusative. (Of course, it's nothing of the sort. These are not Greek verbs which take dative direct objects; they're Greek verbs whose relationship with their predicate arguments are expressed by using the dative rather than by using the accusative. It's merely coincidental that the English verbs used to translate them take direct objects in English.) But αποθνησκω is mostly (and specifically in this text) an intransitive verb. ἁμαρτίᾳ here is not an argument; it's an adjunct.

And what does the compound nature of the verb have to do with anything?
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Re: Romans 6:2 Died to or Died in?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 27th, 2012, 4:29 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
tdhigg01 wrote:But in the Romans passage, that compound verb, I believe, simply takes the dative.

I'm wondering what it means for a verb to "simply take the dative." Referring to the section you cited from Smyth, it appears that he's giving examples of verbs which — viewing Greek through the lens of English — take direct objects in the dative rather than the accusative. (Of course, it's nothing of the sort. These are not Greek verbs which take dative direct objects; they're Greek verbs whose relationship with their predicate arguments are expressed by using the dative rather than by using the accusative. It's merely coincidental that the English verbs used to translate them take direct objects in English.)


I'm not one of those who restrict the term "direct object" to accusative objects of verbs. Of course, being in the accusative is a great sign of being a direct object, but I think that other oblique cases can supply a direct object too if the argument behaves like the prototypical direct object, e.g., being able to be raised into the subject by passivization.

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:But αποθνησκω is mostly (and specifically in this text) an intransitive verb. ἁμαρτίᾳ here is not an argument; it's an adjunct.


Yes. I completely agree.

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:And what does the compound nature of the verb have to do with anything?


I think the poster is thinking that many verbs that take dative (direct) objects are compounded, especially with σύν. It's not applicable to ἀποθῄσκω, however.
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