Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How to Learn Latin in Order to Read 16th-17th c. Lutheran Theology

How to Learn Latin

Beginner Adult, Already Knows Foreign Languages

Consider taking a course from a real instructor. I find that this works best to begin learning any language. Wittenberg Academy is an affordable way to do this. Contact Mrs. Jocelyn Benson (mrsbenson@wittenbergacademy.org) for details. An immersion course may be a quick, though more expensive way, to begin. Try https://vivariumnovum.net/en .

Frederic M. Wheelock, Wheelock’s Latin (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), or similar. What is needed is a grammar that has charts of all the forms of the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, etc. Wheelock is good because it has the answers to the exercises in the back.

A decent online parser and glossary is: http://vicarius.thomasleen.com/

Begin to read the Bible in Latin, start with the Gospels: Alberto Colunga and Laurentio Turrado, eds., Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam: Nova Editio Logicis Partitionibus Aliisque Subsidiis Ornata, 5th ed. (Madrid: La Editorial Catolica, 1977). The Vulgate translation of the Bible can be readily consulted at http://www.drbo.org/lvb/ .

Or try the Neo-Vulgate, which is more faithful to the original Greek and Hebrew: http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_vulgata/documents/nova-vulgata_index_lt.html .

Here is the Small Catechism in Latin, with helpful notes: Edward Naumann, ed., Martini Lutheri Catechismus Minor: The Small Catechism of Martin Luther in Latin with Notes (no place: no publisher, no date).

Adult Who Knows Some Latin

Now it’s time to learn ecclesiastical Latin. Use H. P. V. Nunn, An Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958). It’s also available electronically through www.Logos.com . This is a great little book, except that it doesn’t have an index. You can find your way using the table of contents, but I definitely recommend making your own index as you read through it.

A reader in church Latin, with grammatical supplements to Wheelock is: Richard Upsher Smith, Jr., Ecclesiastical, Medieval, and Neo-Latin Sentences Designed to Accompany Wheelock’s Latin (Mundelein, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2014). This could be used together with Wheelock’s Latin as a supplement, or could be used as a 2nd-semester reader, to become accustomed to ecclesiastical Latin. All the readings include a glossary for terms not covered in Wheelock.

An alternative to Nunn, recommended by Dr. John Nordling, are these two books: Cora Carroll Scanlon and Charles L. Scanlon, Latin Grammar: Grammar Vocabularies, and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary, ed. Newton Thompson (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1976); Cora Carrol Scanlon and Charles L. Scanlon, Second Latin: Grammar Vocabularies, and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1976).

It’s also time to step up to a real dictionary: either L&S (unabridged Lewis & Short) or OLD (Oxford Latin Dictionary). Here’s L&S online for free: http://athirdway.com/glossa/ . As you look up words, don’t be satisfied with the first definition. You have to read through all the definitions, look at the grammar to see which one fits, and then decide how the word is being used!

At this point, consider also learning conversational Latin or Latin composition. John C. Traupman, Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency, 4th ed. (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2007); Goodwin B. Beach and Ford Lewis Battles, Locutionum cotidianarum glossarium: A guide to Latin conversation, 3rd ed. (Hartford, Conn.: Hartford Seminary Press, 1967); Charles Baker, et al., High School Course in Latin Composition (New York: Macmillan, 1950). Conversational Latin courses are also offered by the Paideia Institute (http://www.paideiainstitute.org/online_classes).

Advanced Latin for Reading and Translating 16th and 17th Century Lutheran Texts

Reference grammar: B. L. Gildersleeve and G. Lodge, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2003). Don’t try to read through this. Instead, use the index to look up difficult grammatical constructions.

You can start to read a selection of Lutheran Latin in Walter J. Bartling, Patres Latini Lutherani: Latin Readings from the First Two Centuries of Lutheranism (1965).

Other Latin lexica are online at http://www.lexilogos.com/latin_langue_dictionnaires.htm .

Several lexica are searchable at http://linguax.com/lexica/, including the Latin-Latin dictionary by Forcellini, which is often helpful in providing non-classical, neo-Latin meanings of words.

Neo-Latin vocabulary is defined in German in Johannes Ramminger’s Neulateinische Wortliste, http://ramminger.userweb.mwn.de/, and in René Hoven’s Dictionary of Renaissance Latin from prose sources, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2006). The two vocabularies overlap somewhat, but each also has many words unique to itself.

For medieval Latin, the basic reference, with entries in German and French as well as in English, is Mediae Latinitatis lexicon minus / Lexique latin médiéval / Medieval Latin Dictionary / Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch, ed. J.F. Niermeyer & C. van de Kieft; second edition revised by J.W.J. Burgers (Leiden: Brill, 2002).

More extensive is Glossarium mediae et infimae Latinitatis, ed. Charles Du Fresne Du Cange; revised edition ed. Léopold Favre, 10 volumes (Niort: Favre, 1883-1887; reprint Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1954), available online (as PDF files) at http://standish.stanford.edu/bin/ckey?2174222 . The 1710 edition is available with more convenient links at http://www.uni-mannheim.de/mateo/camenaref/ducange.html . A very convenient and searchable online edition is: http://ducange.enc.sorbonne.fr/ .

A supplement to Du Cange is Lorenz Diefenbach, Novum glossarium latino-germanicum mediae et infimae aetatis (Frankfurt a.M., 1867; reprint Aalen: Scientia, 1997).

In process is the Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch bis zum ausgehenden 13. Jahrhundert (München: Beck, 1959-) [currently through Evito-]

Early modern Latin-German dictionaries can be helpful in reconstructing Luther’s bilingual world: Peter Dasypodius, Dictionarium Latinogermanicum (Strassburg, 1536; reprint Hildesheim: Olms, 1974, 1995). The more limited 1535 edition is available online (as image files) at http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/n-77-4f-helmst-2/start.htm

For theological vocabulary the following may be helpful, keeping in mind that Luther’s own use and that of his contemporaries and predecessors (not that of his heirs) should be the primary norm for translation: Johann Altenstaig, Vocabularius Theologie (Augsburg: Rynman, 1517), with a digitized microfilm online at 
http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/b-49-2f-helmst-1/start.htm . The 1619 Cologne edition of Altenstaig, edited by Johannes Tytz under the title Lexicon Theologicum, has been reprinted in a modern facimile (Hildesheim: Olms, 1974). See also Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985).

For geographical terms, especially helpful are:

Orbis Latinus, oder, Verzeichnis der wichtigsten lateinischen Orts- und Ländernamen, ed. J. G. Th. Graesse, second edition ed. Friedrich Benedict (Berlin: Transpress, 1980). The 1909 edition is available online at http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/Graesse/contents.html .

Albert Sleumer, Kirchenlateinisches Wörterbuch (Hildesheim: Olms, 2006).

The aforementioned lexicon by Sleumer is also excellent as a glossary for ecclesiastical Latin words.

For Patristic Latin, use Albert Blaise and Henri Chirat, Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens (Strasbourg: Le Latin Chrétien, 1954), as well as the unabridged Lewis & Short.

For philosophical terms, see:

Johannes Micraelius, Lexicon Philosophicum (Jenae: impensis Jeremiae Mamphrasii, 1653), available online at https://books.google.com/books?id=7zE_AAAAcAAJ ;

Rudolphus Goclenius, Lexicon Philosophicum (Francofurti: impensis Petri Musculi & Ruperti Pistorii, 1613), available online at https://books.google.com/books?id=2etMAAAAcAAJ ;

Rudolphus Goclenius, Lexicon Philosophicum Graecum (Marchioburgi: impensis Petri Musculi, 1615), available online at https://books.google.com/books?id=en8KYZh46qAC .

Roy J. Deferrari, M. Inviolata Barry, and Ignatius McGuiness, A Lexicon of St. Thomas Aquinas Based on the Summa Theologica and Selected Passages of his Other Works (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2004).

For Latin abbreviations, see:

Adriano Cappelli, Dizionario di Abbreviature latine ed italiane, sesta edizione (Milano: Ulrico Hoepli, 1990), searchable and free at https://www.adfontes.uzh.ch/ressourcen/abkuerzungen/cappelli-online; and

“Siglarium Romanum,” in Jacobus Facciolatus, Aegidius Forcellinus, and Jacobus Bailey, eds., Totius Latinitatis Lexicon, vol. 2 (Londini: sumptibus Baldwin et Cradock, 1828), towards the end with independent page numbering, available online at https://books.google.com/books?id=TjlCyVp9ILUC&pg=RA2-PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false .

An extensive annotated bibliography of Latin lexica since the Renaissance is online at http://www.richardwolf.de/latein/index.html .


Christian Latin authors often sprinkle in Greek vocabulary. For that, consult G. W. H. Lampe, Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961).

Joh. Scapula, Lexicon Graeco-Latinum Novum (London: Thomas Harper, 1637).

Stephanus, Thesaurus Graecae Linguage:
  • Vol 1/1-a https://books.google.com/books?id=w95jvjhnpTIC
  • Vol 1/2-ama https://books.google.com/books?id=rt-ZchZsylkC
  • Vol 2-b https://books.google.com/books?id=yQR2LAgk2rEC
  • Vol 3-e https://books.google.com/books?id=0luLdgdaEk4C
  • Vol 4-z https://books.google.com/books?id=D3LyKURAmZ4C
  • Vol 5-l https://books.google.com/books?id=iQgynV4SI-QC
  • Vol 6-p https://books.google.com/books?id=0fiI3C8VoncC
  • Vol 7-s https://books.google.com/books?id=6D1FZ9_kMiUC
  • Vol 8-appendix https://books.google.com/books?id=C-suaeP1wVQC

Are there any others that should be added to the list?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

How to Learn German in Order to Read 16th-17th c. Lutheran Theology

How to Learn German

Beginner Adult, Already Knows Foreign Languages

Consider taking a course from a real instructor. I find that this works best to begin learning any language. Wittenberg Academy is an affordable way to do this. Contact Mrs. Jocelyn Benson (mrsbenson@wittenbergacademy.org) for details.

Linda C. DeMeritt, German Grammar (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), or similar. What is needed is a grammar that has charts of all the forms of the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, etc.

Or try the free, online resource: http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/

A decent online dictionary for modern German (not for theology or early modern high German) is: http://www.dict.cc/

Begin to read the Bible in German. At first, use the 1984 Lutherbibel, for example: Die Bibel nach Martin Luther 1984: Mit Apokryphen (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012). This is comparable in accuracy (or inaccuracy, as the case may be) to the ESV. https://www.die-bibel.de/bibeln/online-bibeln/lutherbibel-1984/bibeltext/bibel/text/lesen/

Adult Who Knows Some Modern German

At this point, consider learning conversational German. University courses are best for this purpose, but otherwise consider a text such as: Lothar Kahn, Intermediate Conversational German (New York, American Book Company, 1963).

This is also a good time to plan to study in Germany. Both seminaries of the LCMS send one exchange student per year to the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule in Oberursel (http://lthh.de/). But if you are not selected for Oberursel, there are also other ways to have an immersion study experience in Germany. See https://www.daad.de/deutschland/de/ for more information, and contact me for suggestions on creating a study-abroad experience in connection with a supportive sister congregation in Germany. The connection with a supportive sister congregation is important for many reasons, one of which is that often the best learning comes from a faithful, scholarly pastor showing you good German theological literature.

Use a primer in theological German in order to learn the theological vocabulary. For example:

J. D. Manton, Introduction to Theological German (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1973).

Helmut W. Ziefle, Modern Theological German: A Reader and Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997).

Walter M. Mosse, A Theological German Vocabulary: German Theological Key Words Illustrated in Quotations from Martin Luther’s Bible and the Revised Standard Version (New York, Octagon Books, 1955).

At this point you should also become familiar with the old German typeface, commonly called Fraktur. To do so, start to read in a theological reader such as the following:

Martin Bertram, ed., Stimmen der Kirche (St. Louis: Concordia, 1961). The reprint from Concordia Publishing House includes a chart that compares Roman and Fraktur typefaces. Purchase it from CPH.

If you can find a Fraktur edition of the 1912 Lutherbibel, it’s time to start reading it instead of the 1984. It is comparable to the NKJV, though some of the phraseology is old.

Speaking of the Lutherbibel, modern German dictionaries will not help you to read the old versions. Here are some dictionaries that will help you read not just the 1912 Lutherbibel, but also 19th century German (e.g., old LCMS stuff):

Johann Christoph Adelung, Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart (1793–1801), available free online.

Or other 19th-century German-English dictionaries.

There are specific dictionaries for Luther’s German Bible. One of them is:

W. A. Jütting, Biblisches Wörterbuch enthaltend eine Erklärung der alterthümlichen und seltenen Ausdrücke in M. Luther's Bibelübersetzung. Für Geistliche und Lehrer (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1864), available free online.

Advanced German for the Study of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions

Now it’s time to read Luther’s 1545 German Bible. Not everything on the internet that calls itself the 1545 Lutherbibel is the real, genuine 1545 Luther Bible with Luther’s spelling and marginal notes. You can read it online. There are also modules for various Bible apps that feature the “Lutherbibel letzter Hand.” The critical edition of Luther’s German Bible is in the Deutsche Bibel section of the Weimar Edition (WA).

To make sense of 16th-century German, first consult the explanation of early modern high German in: Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12th ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998), vii–x.

If more introduction is desired, see also:

Frédéric Hartweg & Klaus-Peter Wegera, Frühneuhochdeutsch: Eine Einführung in die deutsche Sprache des Spätmittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, second edition, Germanistische Arbeits-Hefte 33 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2005).

“Zum Verständnis der Luthersprache,” in Martin Luther: Studienausgabe, Hans-Ulrich Delius, ed., vol. 1 (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1979), 13–28.

Herbert Penzl, Frühneuhochdeutsch, Germanistische Lehrbuchsammlung 9 (Bern: P. Lang, 1984).

The best compact grammar of Frühneuhochdeutsch is: Frühneuhochdeutsche Grammatik, ed. Robert Ebert, Oskar Reichmann, Klaus-Peter Wegera, Sammlung kurzer Grammatiken germanischer Dialekte 12 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1993).

The following works deal specifically with Luther’s language:

Carl Franke, Grundzüge der Schriftsprache Luthers in allgemeinverständlicher Darstellung, 3 volumes (Halle: Waisenhaus, 1913; reprint Hildesheim: Olms 1973). Helpful also as a glossary. This has been scanned and can be downloaded from Google Books: first copy, second copy, third copy, fourth copy. Note: the Google Books version has different pagination and paragraph enumeration than the Olms edition.

Ernst Thiele, Luthers Sprichwörtersammlung (Weimar: Böhlau, 1900; reprint Leipzig: Reprint-Verlag, 1996). (Cf. WA 51:634–731.) Available for download from Google Books.

The definitive dictionary of Frühneuhochdeutsch will be: Frühneuhochdeutsches Wörterbuch, ed. Ulrich Goebel & Oskar Reichmann, 13 volumes projected [1-4 and fasicles of vols 5-9 & 11 available as of 11/2006] (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1989-).

Meanwhile, the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch, which begins its coverage with Luther, is authoritative and is now freely available online. Its advantage—comprehensiveness—is also its disadvantage: it can be cumbersome to use. Nevertheless, being able to do digital searches online makes it a crucial resource. Deutsches Wörterbuch, ed. Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, 33 volumes (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1854-1971; repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 2003-); available online at http://woerterbuchnetz.de/DWB/ . Be aware that this work spells the “ß” as “sz”. For example, if trying to look up “Buße,” you should search for “Busze” rather than “Busse”.

Lexer’s Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch extends through the fifteenth century and is sometimes helpful for Luther’s German: Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch, ed. Matthias Lexer (Stuttgart: Hirzel, 1872-1878; reprint 1974), available online at http://germazope.uni-trier.de/Projects/WBB/woerterbuecher/lexer/wbgui?lemid=LA00001

Two pocket-sized dictionaries of early modern High German are readily available:

Frühneuhochdeutsches Glossar, ed. Alfred Götze, Kleine Texte für Vorlesungen und Übungen 101, seventh edition (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1971).

Kleines frühneuhochdeutsches Wörterbuch, ed. Christa Baufeld (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1996).

Paul Dietz’ dictionary of Luther’s German is highly accurate and easy to use. It is slowly being expanded, but still only extends from A-Hornig:

Wörterbuch zu Martin Luthers deutschen Schriften, ed. Paul Dietz (Leipzig, 1870-1872; repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1961) [only up to “Hals”]. The original edition appeared in fascicles and stopped part way through the second volume. This work is also available as a free download via Google Book Search: http://books.google.com

Gustav & Renate Bebermeyer, Wörterbuch zu Martin Luthers deutschen Schriften: Wortmonographien zum Lutherwortschatz: anknüpfend an Philipp Dietz, Wörterbuch zu Dr. Martin Luthers deutschen Schriften (Hildesheim: Olms, 1993-) [to Hornig].

Wander’s Sprichwörterlexikon is a comprehensive source for German proverbial sayings. It can now be searched conveniently at http://www.zeno.org/Wander-1867. Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander, Deutsches Sprichwörter-Lexikon (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1830-1880).

Are there any others that should be added to the list?