There's a phrase from the Gospel that's used in the liturgy -- "sed tantum dic verbo" [et sanabitur anima mea], "but only say the word" [and my soul shall be healed]. Why verbo (dative or ablative) and not verbum (accusative)?

  • I am not able to answer this question for the moment, but, to help others, it can be noted that in Matt. 8,8 sed tantum dic verbo is a word for word rendering of αλλα μονον ειπε λογω, which also sounds like the wrong case. – fdb Nov 1 '19 at 20:05
  • @fdb: That is probably with an iota subscriptum? By the way, there also seems to be a version αλλα μονον ειπε λογον. greeknewtestament.com/B40C008.htm – Cerberus Nov 1 '19 at 20:27
  • @Cerberus. Yes, it is dative. αλλα μονον ειπε λογον is an inferior lectio in some late MSS. Jerome's verbo agrees with the older lectio difficilior. – fdb Nov 1 '19 at 21:02
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    I think it means something like "but say it with only one word". – fdb Nov 1 '19 at 21:04
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    @fdb: It couldn't be one of those semantically empty phrases, possibly even a Hebraism? – Cerberus Nov 1 '19 at 21:15

Seems like a perfectly legitimate instrumental use of the ablative. (Presumably one could also ask someone "dic signo", for example, so it's not a completely empty modifier of dic.) If that's the case, though, then the usual English translation is a bit off (though it's hard to see how one would do better without producing very non-idiomatic English).

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    The English KJV follows Erasmus's Textus Receptus, which has the inferior reading λογον (accusative). – fdb Nov 2 '19 at 18:13
  • I was thinking of the Catholic Mass in English, which presumably doesn't reference either Erasmus or the KJV, but produces the same accusative in English. – C Monsour Nov 2 '19 at 18:17

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