This unit (and its complement AL1302C Introductory Ecclesiastical Latin B) introduces the basic grammar and vocabulary of ecclesiastical Latin and develops the skills of translating ecclesiastical Latin into English. The course will proceed with a general introduction to ecclesiastical Latin, and an explanation of the pedagogical technique used in class. Thereafter the core mode of instruction will be working through units 1¬–19 of J. F. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1985). Students are strongly advised to have a copy of Collins’ primer in class. Classes will be a mixture of lectures presenting new material, and tutorials to drill material, revise previous material, practise translating, and discuss difficulties. Some time will also be reserved for in-class tests. Students taking the unit at graduate level are expected to develop competence beyond that expected of undergraduate students; for example, graduate level students should develop a working active knowledge of the ecclesiastical Latin (i.e., to put English into Latin), in addition to the primarily passive reading skills that are the focus of the undergraduate curriculum.

Unit code: AL1301C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Languages

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify and recall the paradigms of ecclesiastical Latin;


Recognise the basic grammatical function and (where appropriate) declension/conjugation of terms in the vocabulary in the unit, illustrating, where relevant, a basic knowledge of irregular, aberrant and multivalent terms;


Parse ecclesiastical Latin into English equivalents/cognates


Translate simple, beginner-level sentences of ecclesiastical Latin vocabulary lexically into contemporary English, and vice versa, in a manner that illustrates an awareness of relevant issues of idiom, register and the biblical/sacral/sacerdotal context involved in the translation of Ecclesiastical Latin.

Unit sequence

This unit is normally taken before AL1302C


A traditional class consisting of lectures, seminars, translation exercises and drills. Option A: Learners will engage with weekly lecture input, lectures, seminars, translation exercises and drills to achieve the learning outcomes. Option B: Learners will engage in intensive mode with lecture input, directed reading activities, translation exercises and drills to achieve the learning outcomes.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Allen, Joseph Henry, and James Bradstreet Greenough, eds. Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges: Founded on Comparative Grammar. Boston: Ginn, 1931.
  • Collins, John F. A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1985. (Recommended for purchase)
  • Falconer, V. I. Father Falconer's Latin Course: A Course in "Latin into English" Translation. Melbourne: Michal O’Callaghan, 2001.
  • Goldman, Norma, and Ladislas Szymanski. English Grammar for Students of Latin: The Study Guide for Those Learning Latin. Ann Arbor: Olivia and Hill, 1993.
  • Hadas, Moses, and Thomas Suits, eds. Latin Selections/Florilegium Latinum: A Dual-Language Book. New York: Bantam, 1961.
  • Hettich, Ernest L., and A. G. C. Maitland. Latin Fundamentals. 3rd ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1934.
  • Kennedy, Benjamin H. The Revised Latin Primer. Harlow: Longman, 1962.
  • Lowe, Joyce E. Church Latin for Beginners: An Elementary Course of Exercises in Ecclesiastical Latin. London: * Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1923.
  • Scanlon, Cora C., and Charles L. Scanlon. Latin Grammar: Grammar, Vocabularies, and Exercises in * * Preparation for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary. 1959. Reprint, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1994.
  • Sihler, Andrew L. New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Valentine, Charles. W. Latin Through English: A Basic Vocabulary of Latin Words with English Derivatives and Other Most Common Latin. London: Macmillan, 1960.
  • Wheelock, Frederic. Wheelock's Latin. 5th ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995. (numerous editions)


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Skill Demonstration

2 x in-class skill demonstrations (test) (equivalent to 375 words each)

0 30.0

Translation exercises for homework (equivalent of 1,250 words)

0 20.0
Written Examination

1 x 2-hour examination (equivalent to 2,000 words)

0 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2022-12-16 16:21:56 +1100