Learning Theological Latin

This page has a few of the thousands of Latin resources for those learning classical, Medieval, Neo-latin or (somewhere in all of those) ecclesiastical Latin for theological study.

Theological Latin

Many of the resources below are for Classical Latin. I’ve been told by some that at the beginners level it doesn’t really matter what sort of Latin textbook one uses; just get started. It is in the style and vocabulary that ecclesiastical Latin will differ from Classical (and of course from classical Latin poetry). Even within theological sources written in Latin, author’s can differ. Younger theologians who have done work that required them to learn Latin have remarked to me that the Vulgate is easy to read; Aquinas is easy to read; Augustine is more difficult due to the quality of his Latin and the Dun’s Scotus is very difficulty to read due to his poor quality Latin.

The textbooks I see students using to learn/teach Latin primarily include John Collins Ecclesiastical Latin and Wheelock. I am being tought latin in an intensive course using Moreland and Fleischer.

  • John Collins
  • Wheelock
  • Moreland and Fleischer
  • New Saint Andrews Latin Course Online – I’ve seen a few students talk about this resource. It is not free but it is an entire Latin course with high quality vocabulary cards and instructional videos.

Regarding Dictionaries. In class we were advised to purchase the Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary as a first time dictionary. I also found that the Collins Latin Concise dictionary (2nd ed) was nice and small with ample extra resources for a good all in one book. Both are quite affordable on Amazon and the size of a regular paperback rather than a large dictionary. The Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin by Leo Stelten was also recommended for those doing theological work and find the above to dictionaries insufficient in their definitions.

Handouts for Individual Grammatical Concepts

Latin Instructional Video’s

Classical Texts Online

  • The Latin Library – online texts of the books of 54 classical authors.
  • Downloadable Loebs You can download the entire Loeb Classics library in PDF format! (Scanned by Google)
  • Perseus Digital Library at Tufts
  • Aquinas.cc – The Aquinas Institute has been working on new translations of Aquinas’s works. They have put online a side by side Latin/English parallel of their translation. They’ve done most of the Summa, Contra Gentiles, and other works.

Vocabulary Resources

  • Diedrich-Lodge latin frequency vocab list. At the turn of the century it was calculated that this list of words showed up frequently in classical and medieval texts. Learning these words would allow one to recognize 85% of the words in most classical and medieval texts.

Dictionaries & Lexicons

  • See the theological Latin section above for info about the dictionaries we used in class.
  • lexilogos.com/english/latin_dictionary.ht This site has several links to dictionaries including Perseus.
  • online-latin-dictionary.com   This is an excellent dictionary. Not only will it find Latin forms, it will give you a link that allows you to see the full paradigms and declensions for the word you’ve searched.
  • Whitaker’s Words is a magical little tool that teachers warn one not to use until they’ve gone through their course and learned the forms on their own. This is also found online here.

Latin Grammars & Textbooks

 Answer Keys

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