2

In medieval Latin, is there a difference between erga and quoad? They both seem to mean "with respect to".

2 Answers 2

3

quoad is only an adverb when it means 'as long as'. When, like ergā, it governs a noun in the accusative, both are prepositions, but they have different meanings.

quoad limits the application of some assertion or introduces the topic for a following assertion. It's composed of the directional quō 'where to' and ad, which designates a limit.

  • It's only an adverb when it designates a limit in time and translates to 'as long as (not), until', as in your last example (quoad eijus vīta terminētur); or, with licēre and posse, a limit of ability, 'as far as, as much as'. These are its most common uses.
  • In your Aquinas excerpt it's a preposition whose function is likewise limiting or specifying: there are three elements of Sin, and Extreme Unction is said not to remit any of them: 'Sin limited to Stain without Contrition, Sin limited to Punishment, or Sin limited to its Remnants.' It can be understood as a reverse genitive: 'sin as far as its stain => sin its stain => the stain of sin'. This construction is actually grammatical in some varieties of English.
  • Its other major use as a preposition is disjunctive: quoad hoc quod compertum est, dīcit... 'as regards what has been uncovered, he says that...'. Here it establishes (when preceding) or circumscribes (when following) the topic of discourse.
  • These latter two uses don't depend on any verb and are characteristic of late and especially medieval Latin. Classical Latin uses quod ad X (attinet), quantum ad X (pertinet) and especially for the topic-limiting disjunct, and the specifying meaning would be expressed using genitives, adjectives or a relative clause.

ergā has a totally different meaning and expresses the object, and especially the person, whom a (usually good rather than bad) attidude or a state-like action is directed towards: nihil ergā eōs agere 'to do nothing in relation to them', amor ergā parentēs 'love towards one's parents'. It has no adverbial or disjunctive uses, but is a pure preposition that depends on some (de-)verbal part of speech, similar to in and antonymous to contrā, with adversus somewhere in the middle.

I can't think of instances where the two are interchangeable.

1

Erga is a preposition; quoad is an adverb.

Roy J. DeFerrari, A Lexicon of St. Thomas Aquinas, p. 370:

ergā, prep. with acc., in general of every kind of mental relation to a person or thing, to, towards, in respect to.

Eliguntur homines ad aliqua officia vel secularia vel ecclesiastica; ab his qui nihil erga eos agunt*, PS. Q. 13. Art. 4 ob. 3 […]

*Freddoso transl. PDF p. 1036: "Men are chosen to certain offices, whether secular or ecclesiastical, by those who do nothing with respect to them."
Alt. transl.: "men are chosen for certain posts, whether secular or ecclesiastical, by those who exercise no action in their regard [or 'regarding them']."

p. 932:

quoad, adv., (1) with respect to, as to = quod attinet ad (with the acc. only, in the S.T.), (2) till, until.

(1), sed per extrema unctionem non remittitur peccatum quoad maculam sine contri­tione, quae etiam sine unctione remittit; nec iterum quoad poe­nam, quia adhuc si convalescat, tenetur perficere satisfactionem iniunctam; nec quoad reliquias culpae, (ob. 2) […] PTS. Q. 30. Art. 1

[…]

(2), et similiter de homine aliquo iudicium perfecti dari non potest, quoad eius vita terminetur, eo quod multiplicia potest mutari de bono in malum, aut e converso, PT. Q. 59. Art. 5 c.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.