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Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

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Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby mjdubroy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:31 pm

Ultimately, I want to be able to read the Latin of St. Thomas Aquinas and some of his major commentators (between the 15th-17th centuries). I've "learned" Latin before taking four years in high school and a year in graduate school (grammar translation method) but never being able to really "pick it up." Familia Romana has really helped develop the habit of reading and practice "seeing" the constructions and other things. I'm now finishing up Familia Romana and thinking about what I should do next. Some possibilities as I see them (I'm open to other suggestions):

(1) go on to do Fabulae Syrae (some practice of the latter chapters of Familia Romana
(2) Do something that is meant to be done after Familia Romana like Epitome Historiae Sacrae
(3) Go on to Roma Aeterna
(4) Or just start reading St. Thomas (this is, as far as I am aware, on the simpler side of Latin) and eventually move on to his commentators (these authors have varying degrees of complexity of their Latin supposedly)

Thoughts?
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby Bedell » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:44 pm

I couldn't advise you on how to procede being a learner myself, but you might find this useful for reading St. Thomas.

http://www.amazon.com/Lexicon-Saint-Tho ... as+Aquinas
nothing should arouse more suspicion than a cross-party consensus - Antidemocritus fl. 2010
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby scotistic » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:27 am

Just start reading Thomas. Summa contra gentiles is the first long text I read after learning some Latin, besides some chunks of the Vulgate. Syntactically he's not very hard; as far as vocabulary goes, beyond a basic core vocab learning more classical Latin won't help much. Scholastic Latin has its own vocab much of which you won't find in classical dictionaries. A good option is Deferrari's dictionary of Thomas' vocabulary, although I don't know if it's still in print. That said, while reading Thomas also read Fabula Syrae and Roma Aeterna and the supplements.

Good luck. In my experience reading Thomas in Latin leads to reading other scholastics too, most of whom aren't available in English, and wanting to keep improving your Latin enough to be able to read classical and renaissance works too.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby mjdubroy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Thank you for your thoughts. They are encouraging! That's the way I was leaning but when you are doing this all yourself it is helpful to have another opinion. It will be hard to get used to looking a lot of words up since this is almost non-existent with Familia Romana (or at least much more limited with their ready-made Latin-English booklet). Thankfully the Lexicon you mention is still easily available.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby jdhomrighausen » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:24 am

Keep us updated on your quest to read church Latin. I am going to dig into it this summer, with a copy of Collins' book on ecclesiastical Latin. The back of that book has selections from the Vulgate and the entire Latin Tridentine Mass to translate - with running vocabulary review. Maybe that would be a good place to start?
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby scotistic » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:37 am

Please note that church Latin is not quite the same thing as scholastic Latin. Scholastic Latin is usually significantly simpler syntactically and has a smaller core vocabulary, much of which does is technical and does not overlap with more general ecclesiastical Latin. Aquinas is almost always much easier to read than a papal document.

At the same time also note that neither church Latin nor scholastic Latin is in any meaningful sense a different language than just plain Latin. Try reading a book like the Sentences of Peter Lombard; it's the foundational textbook of scholasticism, written by a more or less pre-scholastic medieval churchman, consisting largely but not entirely of pastiches of quotations from many earlier writers as recent as Anselm but as early as Augustine and Boethius, whose Latin is not so very far away from being classical. To read a book like that you can't worry about whether you're learning classical or medieval or ecclesiastical or scholastic Latin, you just have to learn Latin and read as widely as possible until you're comfortable with a wide range of texts. But in order to get there Aquinas and the Vulgate are as good places to start as any.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby Ste11aeres » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:04 pm

I have found Aquinas quite easy to read. In fact, I showed a copy of the (first book? I don't remember) of the Summa to my friend who speaks Spanish, and he started translating it out loud. (though it could just be that my friend is really smart.)
And there is no comparison between Aquinas in the original vs the translation. It's a real treat.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby mjdubroy » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:38 am

As an update: I've been able to read St. Thomas's Summa Theologiae and Cajetan's commentary on it without too much difficulty even if slowly at times (mostly due to some new vocabulary). It has been rather heartening that the habit of reading Latin that I learned through reading Familia Romana is a real habit and so I really am able to (mostly) simply read these other texts. This is opposed to learning Latin only through the grammar method and so do a lot of translating (with great difficulty) and never really being able to read the text.

One question I have: Cajetan, an early 16th century author, often has "ly" in his texts, but I haven't found it in any dictionary and can't figure it out.

To give an example:
In titulo huius primi articuli, tres terminos nota. Primo
ly necessarium. Dupliciter enim sumitur V Metaphys.*:
simpliciter , et ad finem. Hic sumitur secundo modo. -
Secundo ly pltysicas * disciplinas.

Actually I've noticed it is often after numbers, but here are two cases when it is not:
Et quoniam talia sunt subiecta
qualia permittuntur a praedicatis, consequens est quod ly
sacra doctrina sumatur hic pro doctrina revelata ut est conclusionum.

Sed theologia nostra distinguitur, si ly nostra
demonstret huraanam naturam simpliciter, in theologiam
beatorum et viatorura.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby scotistic » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:04 am

"ly" means "the". Latin has no definite article but the scholastics sometimes found that they needed it for the sake of clarity, so "ly" was introduced, probably borrowed from French. It's especially used where we might use quotation marks or italics to refer to a term or expression itself rather than what the term or expression stands for. So in your example, " ly sacra doctrina sumatur hic pro doctrina revelata" means, " 'sacred doctrine' is taken here to mean revealed doctrine". This expression is not too common in St Thomas and earlier scholastics, but it becomes more common towards the end of the thirteenth century and is quite common in the fourteenth and later.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby mjdubroy » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:02 pm

Wow, thank you. That is very helpful. Where do you learn these things? Is there some helpful books or is it simply from your own professors as you were learning these things?
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby scotistic » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:52 pm

In this case I don't remember where I learned it. It certainly came up in class when I was studying medieval philosophy when in graduate school, but I feel like I'd already encountered it in my own reading. There's an entry on it in the Deferrari dictionary I mentioned, which probably remains the best available resource for reading scholastic Latin, even though many post-Aquinas terms won't be there. In medieval philosophy and theology you have to be prepared to figure out the meaning of a term on your own fairly frequently, using root words and context and parallels to words you already know.
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby mjdubroy » Mon May 06, 2013 6:12 pm

I'm now having a little trouble with Cajetan:

I can't quite figure out what this means:

Differentia naturalitatis a supernaturalitate attenditur penes comparationem potentiae ad agens naturaliter vel supernaturaliter impressivum in talem potentiam: igitur comparando potentiam ad actum, nulla est supernaturalitas. Consequentia vero probatur ex eo quod anima inclinatur in omnem suam, et praecipue summam perfectionem , qualis est actus fruitionis Dei, etc.

The lexicon of St. Thomas has been helpful here - for example with comparationem and comparando I would never have understood in this context without it.

Three questions:
(1) How does "naturaliter vel supernaturaliter impressivum in talem potentiam" relate to the rest of the sentence? Does it refer to agens?
(2) "Nulla" refers back to "potentiam" right?
(3) "anima inclinatur in omnem suam": what does suam refer to here? It's a reflexive so it should refer back to anima right? However, that doesn't seem to make any sense in this context that the soul is included to every self or the whole self? How am I misunderstanding that?
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Re: Learning Thomistic Latin (13th, 15th-17th century)

Postby adrianus » Wed May 08, 2013 12:43 am

Forsit anglicè hoc?

"The difference of what is innate from what is divinely influenced is best thought about in what pertains to the potential for acting spontaneously or to acting that is divinely imprinted with such a potential [for acting spontaneously]. So in the relationship between potentiality and actuality, the supernatural doesn't come into it. The consequence definitely is shown to be true in so far as the mind inclines, in its whole being and most particularly, to the height of perfection, such is its impulse to enjoy God."
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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