In Latin translation of the Analects (didn't find who are the translator(s)) we read in Chapter 1, verse 4:

Cotidie de tribus rebus me examino: utrum ...; utrum....; utrum quod celebrem sit documento necne.

The bolded part should mean: "whether or not I practice what is imparted". But I could not decipher this ablative (or even dative) documento. it appears to be something like sit documento = "according to the example/lesson", but how this ablative is standalone without a verb?

1 Answer 1


This is a dative of purpose (A&G 382). documento esse means "to serve as a lesson or example."

  • thanks. now the word order makes more sense. I do find this a little different from other translations in meaning, but probably stylistic decision by the translator.
    – d_e
    Mar 5, 2022 at 10:04

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