Does an accusative 'mean' this much?

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Philip Arend
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Does an accusative 'mean' this much?

Post by Philip Arend » May 18th, 2019, 12:41 am

Matt. 5:6 μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.

James Boice comments that an accusative adds quite a strong amount of meaning...

"The significance of this point for interpreting the fourth beatitude lies in the fact that the normal Greek usage is entirely abandoned in this verse. Instead of the word “righteousness” occurring in the genitive, as it should, it occurs in the accusative. And the meaning is that the one who hungers and thirsts as Christ intends him to hunger and thirst must hunger, not after a partial or imperfect righteousness (either his own or God’s), but after the whole thing. He must long for a perfect righteousness, and this means, therefore, a righteousness equal to and identical with God’s."

How could an accusative import this meaning to the text? Is there such a stark difference between the use of genitive and accusative?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Does an accusative 'mean' this much?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 18th, 2019, 7:05 am

Actually, with all due respect to Dr. Boice, I don't think so. There are other examples in Greek literature where διψάω takes the accusative, and context does not indicate anything like what Dr. Boice suggests. It's simply a synonymous alternative construction.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Jason Hare
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Re: Does an accusative 'mean' this much?

Post by Jason Hare » May 18th, 2019, 10:49 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 7:05 am
Actually, with all due respect to Dr. Boice, I don't think so. There are other examples in Greek literature where διψάω takes the accusative, and context does not indicate anything like what Dr. Boice suggests. It's simply a synonymous alternative construction.
LSJ specifically mentions that it appears with accusative and dative objects and with πρός and infinitives.

From διψάω in Diogenes:
metaph., δ. τινός thirst after a thing, Pi.N.3.6; ἐλευθερίας Pl.R.562c: later c. acc., δ. Χῖον Teles p.8 H.; φόνον APl.4.137 (Phil.); δικαιοσύνην Ev.Matt. 5.6; αἷμα J.BJ1.32.2; also δ. πρὸς τὸν θεόν LXXPs.41(42).2: c. dat., ὕδατι ib.Ex.17.3: c. inf., διψῶ χαρίζεσθαι ὑμῖν X.Cyr.5.1.1; ἀκρατῶς ἐδίψη οἴνου πίνειν Ael.VH2.41, etc.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

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