Why I teach Latin from the Vulgate

The Patrologist

When I teach students who have (some) Greek (these are usually biblical studies/theology students), my go-to method is to use a text-based approach and in particular I tend to get them straight into John’s Gospel in the Vulgate.

Some classicists seem a little down on reading the Vulgate. They seem to think we should just stick to the classical canon and that ‘nothing good came from later Latin’. What nonsense. I love some good Cicero too, but let’s not get caught up on Latinitas.

Teaching this student population from the Vulgate has three powerful advantages.

  1. It leverages off their knowledge of Greek. Not that they need to know the Greek underlying the Vulgate necessarily, nor even by particularly familiar with John in the Greek. But having done Greek gives me something easy to which I can relate Latin syntax and vocabulary. Telling a student that ut here is mostly correspondent…

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