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Medieval and Vulgate Latin Textbooks and Online Summer School

With the launch of Latin for the New Millennium in support of 1st- and 2nd-year Classical Latin studies, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers is interested in doing either a textbook or online course for students interested in Medieval and/or Vulgate Latin. After speaking with hundreds of Medievalists at Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo over the past few years, I have learned that Medieval Studies graduate students need a lot of help with their Latin, and many are required to take Latin for the very first time in grad school, often blitzing through the grammar in a single year so that they can muddle through Medieval Latin texts with the aid of a dictionary.

What I am interested in learning from this group is whether there is real interest in a Medieval Latin textbook (or one for Vulgate), or if Medieval Studies students would benefit instead from a Medieval Latin "boot camp" online course taught over a 4- or 6-week period (or longer?). Maybe both?

Please comment on this post with your feedback.


Andrew Reinhard
Director of eLearning
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers

Views: 409

Comment by Laura Gibbs on November 3, 2008 at 11:31am
Andrew, my feeling is that no Latin textbook is needed for medieval Latin, but instead a better book than the standard medieval Latin anthologies which currently exist (something that is consistently easier, and designed for readers who are not necessarily experts in the medieval world). Please keep me informed about how this develops; I have a LOT of Vulgate materials which I would be glad to share (including the Vulgate Verses book, which has a graded series of verses focused on specific grammatical features that could be repurposed in all kinds of ways - 4000 verses mean there is plenty to choose from), plus lots of medieval Aesop I could contribute (including my very favorite - the fables of Odo of Cheriton, medieval preacher, which have Christian allegories for the fables), along with some good materials on saints lives from the Legenda Aurea. I consider the Gesta Romanorum probably the greatest reading source for beginning Latin students and it, too, comes with Christian allegories.
Personally, I think a medieval Latin reader focused on EASY materials could make a gigantic contribution to the Latin publications world. Medieval Latin is - sententia mea - both easier and far more fun to read than anything in classical Latin.
Are you thinking of doing a collaborative project, inviting a bunch of different teachers/scholars to contribute texts which they are passionate about? I think that would make for a super reader! :-)
Comment by Iustus Viator (Justin Bailey) on November 3, 2008 at 9:58pm
As a self-taught Latinist and beginning amateur medievalist always seeking post-classical Latin texts for myself and my students, I would support (and, if possible, participate in) especially the "boot camp" alternative. I agree with Laura that a medieval-specific Latin textbook is not as necessary as an introduction to and set of lots of medieval authors and readings.

A textbook of Classical Latin, along with a less-than-ten-page exposition of the major differences between Classical and medieval Latin, should suffice for the deductive part of a medievalist's Latin education. After this, texts, texts, and more texts, graded for difficulty.
Comment by Seumas Macdonald on November 3, 2008 at 10:59pm
I concur with Laura Gibbs. Medievalists would serve themselves best with current Latin learning materials, they do need some well-focused materials to (a) teach them the idiosyncracies of medieval latin, and (b) an anthology/reader that was better focused on easier materials.


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