CH527 Ecclesiastical Latin I

—Academic Goals:

  • By the end of the semester the student shall be able read Latin at an introductory level, i.e., shall recognize and analyze elementary vocabulary and forms and shall be able to recognize, analyze, and translate elementary Latin sentences.

—Pastoral Goals:

  • The student “exhibits growing integrity, teachability/humility, perseverance, self-discipline” (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes). Progress will be measured by weekly quizzes, a mid-term, and a final exam, as well as weekly reviews.
  • Students shall be prepared to translate, in class, sentences from the weekly assignment. Attendance to class is essential.

Latin I covers the first 14 chapters of the text.

Required Reading/Texts

Course Structure

Each week the student will memorize the vocabulary and forms and complete the Latin to English exercises.

NB: Before you can read Latin you must first memorize the vocabulary and forms. Then you must come to understand how those forms relate to each other in sentence form (grammar).Thus, in order to learn Latin you must first memorize. You cannot learn the relations of words and forms if they are unfamiliar. To memorize you need a large set of flash cards (or the Mac Genius program). You must write out the vocabulary and forms and quiz yourself repeatedly until you have mastered the assigned vocabulary and forms. Quiz yourself over the vocabulary until you can work through the assignment without error. Leave it and come back to it later. Isolate the vocabulary you’ve not yet memorized and focus on it. When you’ve mastered these words, go back and review all the vocabulary together. Leave it and come back to it tomorrow. When you pass the flash card quiz repeatedly without error you are ready for the vocabulary portion of the quiz.

It will be helpful to write out the forms repeatedly on a black/white board (or on paper) until you can reproduce the forms without error and without consulting any helps. Leave it and come back later or even the next day and try to reproduce the forms. When you can reproduce the entire form the next day without error you are ready for that portion of the quiz.

When translation sentences are assigned you must work on 5-6 sentences daily in order to complete the assignment successfully before the quiz. As a rule, if your translation makes no sense then you have most probably made a mistake. Do not assume that the text has erred. It hasn’t. When you can sight read all the assigned Latin to English sentences you are ready for the weekly quiz.

Here’s the method for translation: Find the verb (translate it), find the subject of the verb (translate it), then find the qualifiers and translate them.

If you follow this procedure each week, you should have learned the material well enough, with a little review, to perform well on the mid-term and final.

Recommended Texts


Additional Bibliography

  • Dorothy Sayers, Lost Tools of Learning.
  • Brittain, F. Latin in Church. Cambrige: Cambridge University Press, 1934.
  • Harrington, K. P. Mediaeval Latin. Second Edition. ed. Joseph Pucci. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
  • Mantello, F. A. C. and A. G. Rigg, eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographic Guide. Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 1996.
  • Leal, Ioanes, ed. Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri Ieus Christi, Iuxta editionem Sixto-Clementinam anni 1592. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1960.
  • Weber, Robert. ed. Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1969.


  • Stelten, Leo F. Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin
  • Muller, Richard. F., A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms
  • Harden, J. M., A Dictionary of the Vulgate New Testament
  • Bretzke, James T. Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary
  • Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictonary
  • Smalley, Beryl, The Study of The Bible in the Middle Ages

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!