Medieval Latin Text Seminar

Course Status: 
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
16 Aug 2010 - 10 Dec 2010
György László Geréby

MS xxx : Medieval Latin Text Seminar


 (xxx, Seminar, 2 credits)


Instructor: György Geréby (Room xxx) Tel: xxx or 3412 634




Office Hours:

xxx or by appointment


Description: The course is designed to introduce students to variety of Mediaeval Latin texts. Of course, since Latin was for more than a thousand years (roughly between the fourth and the early sixteenth century) the international language not only of the church, but also of state, school, society, law, belles lettres, and generally of the learned literature of the West (not incidentally called the Latin West), to address all the genres, forms, developments and peculiarities of the developments in Latin over a millennium in a single course is impossible. This course will concentrate on certain areas of eccleastical and scholastic Latin, like matters biblical (the Vulgate), exegesis, theology and philosophy, and the style of related religious literature. Discitur ambulando : the course will primarily consist of close reading of texts biblical, hymnical, exegetical, theological, and philosophical. During the reading special attention will be paid to content and meaning, but forms, vocabulary, and syntax will not be neglected either. While Medieval Latin might look simpler in grammar than classical Latin, it can be pretty difficult as to what it says : the foremost task will be accordingly to decipher the meaning of “ecclesiastical” (and related) texts.


Learning objectives: to become familiar with the style and content of some fundamental genres, vocabulary and ideas of of Ecclesiastical Latin between the 5th to the 14th centuries. 


Learning outcomes: Familiarity with aspects of Medieval Ecclesiastical Latin, especially with the language of the Vulgate, and of religious literature, including philosophy and hymnography. Forms, specificities, and a good amount of specialized vocabulary will be mastered.  


Requirements: Since it is an Advanced Source Language Practice & Textual Skills Elective for 1YMA and 2YMA students, an intermediate level of Latin is a requirement. The participtants are expected to attend the course based on the weekly readings, prepare the texts in advance, and participate in the discussions during classes. Apart from the texts, required additional readings are listed separately. These items will be the subject of the two in-class tests, together with unknown texts, similar to those read.


Grading: Grading is based on class preparation and participation (50%), and 2 in-class translation tests of unknown texts (25% +  25%).


Course details:


1. (xxx) Introduction: the problem of medieval Latin

Changes in grammatical form, syntax, spelling. The problem of editions.

Text: Hieronymus, Ep. 22 ad Eustochium c.30. PL 22: 416


2. (xxx) The Vulgate 1.

Text: Jonah.


3. (xxx)  The Vulgate 2.

Text: Psalm 22 (23). Psalm 23.


4. (xxx) The Gospels.

Text: Luke 15, 11-32 (the parable of the Prodigal Son). John 1,1-18 (the Prologue). Vetus Latina, later versions.


5. (xxx) Hymns.

Text: Ambrose, Aeterne rerum conditor

(The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse. F.J.E. Raby, ed. (Oxford 1959)

Alanus ab Insulis Sequentia de rosa (De natura hominis, De vita hominis) PL 210, 579AB



Text: Thomas Aquinas, Utrum theologia sit scientia? STh q.1. a. 2.


7. (xxx) Augustine on the end of times

Text: Augustinus, Ep. 197. Ad Hesychium  PL 33: 899-900


8. (xxx) Boethius’ Platonic theology

Text: Boethius, Consolatio philosophiae III. metrum 9. : O qui perpetua ...


9. (xxx) Methods of exegesis 1.

Text: Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Ezechielem hom. 2. PL 76: 795 - 806


10. (xxx) Methods of exegesis 2.

Text: Richard of St. Victor, Expositio cantici Habacuc, PL 196:401-404.


11. (xxx) Scholastic analysis.

Text: Guillelmus Ockham, Quaestiones quodlibetales l.2. q.1 and q. 14.

Gratianus, Concordia Discordantium Canonum d.1.



Text: Archipoeta, Carmen X. 


Suggested readings :


Nunn, H.P.V., An introduction to ecclesiastical Latin. Cambridge : CUP, 1922.


Mantello F. A. C., Rigg, A. G. eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide, (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996),+Medieval+Latin:+An+Introduction+and+Bibliographic+Guide&source=bl&ots=DV3TYN9Exc&sig=GsZuE3fVE2Hujip7WGFQgmcd6KQ&hl=hu&ei=8RdlTOizO4GaOIDz8fcM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Review by C. Woods. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide. Medium Aevum 67/2 (1998). 316. 


McGuire, M..Introduction to Medieval Latin Studies: A Syllabus and Bibliographical Guide. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964.


Harrington, K.P. Medieval Latin. Second edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.


Sidwell, K. Reading Medieval Latin. Cambridge : CUP, 1995.



Useful links:

A good “definition” of Medieval Latin: 


A short intro into linguistic changes  : 


Many Latin texts : 


Medieval Sourcebook for texts (Paul Halsall): 


An annotated bibliography of Medieval Latin : 


Another bibliography: 


Insititutions, joournals, tools:


Interesting materials (incl. links) of a course:


Another syllabus (A.R. Raia course) :


Texts (Labyrinth site) :


Vocabularium Saxonis Grammatici (Latin - Latin)


Free online Latin dictionaries:


Abbreviationes homepage (fee paying): 


Paleographic fonts and a very good, profusely illustrated manual: 



C. Du Cange, Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis. Editio nova. Paris: Niort, 1883.


J. F. Niermeyer, Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus, Leiden: Brill, 1976.


Latham, A. R. A Revised Medieval Latin Word-List from British and Irish Sources. OUP, 1965.


Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (British Academy)