Context: ...quae quidem translatio post Evangelium promulgatum sine lavacro regenerationis aut eius voto fieri non potest...

I understand that lavacro is in the ablative case because sine is paired with the ablative.

But why is regenerationis in the genitive? Could it be a genitive of quality?

1 Answer 1


While grammarians have come up with quite an elaborate classification system for genitives, most of them come down to the same thing: when one noun is modified by another in Latin, the modifier takes the genitive case. Genitives of quality, price, partition, and so on are just special cases of this.

So what this really conveys is that "rebirth" is modifying "bath" in some way. The easiest way to capture this in English is to use "of": they need either "a bath of rebirth" (i.e. water baptism) or the desire for one.

Another way to convey this in English is to put the nouns next to each other with no preposition: "a rebirth bath". This doesn't sound as good to me in this context.

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    It's interesting that you say they need either the laver of regeneration or the desire for one. Shouldn't sine apply to both voto and lavacro, since both are ablative and therefore the statement is equivavalent to "...sine lavacro regenerationis aut sine eius voto..." Meaning if either one is missing -> "translatio fieri non potest"? The expert opinion of Carolinne White, PhD, Oxford Latin, is that the statement could be read both ways needing to be disambiguated by the context. The context is "sicut scriptum est Jo 3, 5" and a reference to canon 5 de baptismo, necessitating an inclusive or.
    – Glorius
    Mar 31, 2023 at 18:42
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    @Glorius That's entirely possible. I've never known as much about Catholic doctrine as I was supposed to, but I think both readings are possible; the one that seems more intuitively sensible to me is needing either, rather than needing both.
    – Draconis
    Mar 31, 2023 at 18:56

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