In Caput VI Liber II Augustine wrote:"Quamvis mihi nondum fideli......" (Although I was not a Christian...) Here he used the dative case (mihi fideli). What's the dative case for? Why is it dative?


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    To be able to tell why it has a dative, we should probably take a look at the whole sentence and possibly the preceding one(s) too. Can you give a fuller quote?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


Here is the relevant passage:

Augustine. Confessiones 2.3.6: Itaque illa exilivit pia trepidatione ac tremore et, quamvis mihi nondum fideli, timuit tamen vias distortas in quibus ambulant qui ponunt ad te tergum et non faciem.

Literally: 'she (my mother) was, therefore, startled with a pious fear and trembling: for me, although not being faithful yet (i.e., although I was not yet a believer), still she feared those crooked ways in which they walk who turn their back to You and not their face'.

The interpretation of your example is that she feared that he, not being yet baptized, might wander along the crooked roads walked by those who turn their backs to God and do not show Him their faces (cf. Jeremiah 2:27. Old Testament).

Your question, Li Xinghe, is very interesting. I interpret the dative as depending on the verb timuit: cf. timere aliquid (i.e., vias distortas in quibus...) alicui 'lit. to fear something for someone'. For similar examples, cf. an aliis licet in meo metu sibi nihil temere? (Cic. Dom. 8) and dant aegris quibus uini noxiam timent (Plin. Nat. 14, 100).

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