Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin
Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

8.2 ‘To’, ‘for’ and the dative case

So much for the genitive or the ‘of’ case. Now let us look at the dative case. If I were to write a letter in Greek, I might use a noun in the dative case to refer to the recipient. The letters of the New Testament offer numerous examples. Nouns in the dative case and their English equivalents are emphasised in bold.

Example 1

Paul ... to Philemon

Παῦλος ... Φιλήμονι

Paulos ... Philēmoni

Paul’s Letter to Philemon, 1.

Example 2

John to the seven churches ...

'Ιωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ...

Iōannēs tais hepta ekklēsiais

The Revelation of John, 1.4.

A letter might also begin or end with a standard phrase such as:

Example 3

Grace to you and peace

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη

charis humin kai eirēnē

Used widely in the New Testament, e.g. Philemon, 3.

There is no word for ‘to’ in these passages. Instead, Greek conveys the same idea by changing the ending of the recipient (‘Philemon’, ‘the churches’, ‘you’), specifically, by putting it in the dative case.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371