Christum vs Christus
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 614
    I need a little help understanding some Latin. Two phrases, "Peccator Ad Christum" and "Christus Ad Peccatorem." When you add "um" or "us" to Christ how does this affect it. The translation of the first phrase is "Sinner to Christ" the second phrase is "Christ to Sinner." If we talk to Christ do we refer to Him as Christum? Is this like first person? If He talks to us then He is referred to as "Christus?" Then a little more confusing to me is Paccator and Peccatorem, how can both be "sinner?"
  • MarkB
    Posts: 865
    Latin is a heavily inflected language, which means the changed endings of words tell you their use or function in a sentence. Word order is flexible in Latin sentences because the endings of words instead of their relative placement reveal their function and meaning.

    In the case of "Christus", the "-us" ending is for the nominative case, usually used when the word is the subject of a sentence.

    The "-um" ending in "Christum" means the word is in the accusative case, used when the word is the direct object of a transitive verb or the object of a preposition that describes motion or action towards or to, which the preposition "ad" does.

    In the case of the word "peccator", it's the same principle, only the way of declining the word is different because it's a different category of noun. Whereas "Christus" is a second declension noun, "peccator" is a third declension noun so it has a different way of changing the word's endings: "peccator" is nominative case and "peccatorem" is accusative case.

    To show possession, genitive case, the corresponding words would be "Christi" and "peccatoris", which mean "of Christ" and "of a/the sinner", respectively.

    When addressing someone directly, the vocative case is used. For "Christus" that would be "Christe".

    The phrases you mention seem to be from a dialogue like in some parts of The Imitation of Christ. "Christus ad peccatorem" would indicate what Christ is saying to the sinner; "Peccator ad Christum" would indicate what the sinner says to Christ.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    If you look up masculine case endings for Latin, you’ll have a much greater understanding in a very short amount of time as to what is going on.
    Same for just looking up 1st/2nd conjugation verb endings so that you can at least know who or how many people or things are going on.

    It’s very easy to start with those simple endings and go on from there.
    The Prima Latina (and onward) Latin courses from Memoria Press are great resources for a simple, yet decently thorough introduction and deeper understanding of Latin.
  • Dominus is a 2nd declension Latin noun. It's ending follows the conventions of the 2nd declension, which you can learn more about here:
    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/stage-1-latin/lessons/lesson-3-second-declension-nouns-to-be/
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 614
    So would it be wrong to say Christum Ad Peccator or, Christus Ad Peccatorem? If so, why?
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,106
    No, it would not. the endings of the words indicate subject and predicate, not order. You can even say Ad Christum Peccator or Ad Christus Peccatorem, or even Christum Peccator Ad or Christus Peccoratem Ad. Word order isn't important.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    ^that said, Latin word order is not entirely inflexible. Some things aren't just done.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • Don,

    The answer to your most recent inquiry depends on more context.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,000
    Don. Think of "She to him" versus "He to her."
    "She" and "He" are in the nominative case, while "him" and "her" are in the objective case.
    It's the same with "Peccator Ad Christum" and "Christus Ad Peccatorem":
    "Peccator" and "Christus" are in the nominative case, while "Christum" and "Peccatorem" are in the accusative (objective) case. Unless one is using pronouns in English, one doesn't really see the difference between the nominative and objective cases.

  • Drake
    Posts: 200
    A specific preposition can also mandate a particular form of the noun as its object.

    Some prepositions inherently take accusative objects, some ablative. For prepositions that can accept either form of the object, the meaning of the preposition changes depending on the form used. Frequently, when motion is intended, the accusative form of the noun is used, and when something is static, the ablative is used. There is a pretty good explanation here, with some examples.

    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/stage-1-latin/resources/stage-1-latin-grammar-resource/prepositions/

    I’m no Latin scholar, but I can’t think of a time where I’ve seen the object of the preposition come before the preposition. I’m pretty sure the object is supposed to follow the preposition.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,773
    ^yup. This was my point. Word order is flexible, but you can't do some things, and even the separation of the subject and verb or reversing them isn't something done without some thought as to style…