Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FW: A Must Have Book (well, at least for Latin students...)



Feed: Father Hollywood
Posted on: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:05 PM
Author: Father Hollywood
Subject: A Must Have Book (well, at least for Latin students...),204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgIf you are learning Latin, or if you are Lutheran, or best of all, if you are a Lutheran and you are learning Latin, here is a resource that you'll definitely want: Catechismus Minor Martini Lutheri: The Small Catechism of Martin Luther in Latin with notes by Edward Naumann.


In the interest of full disclosure, someone mailed me a copy of the book for a review - a long time ago. Shame on me, I have been meaning to write about this wonderful resource - but somehow (imagine that!) writing a review fell through the cracks.


Let me say this much: my review is a recommendation - and it would have been so even without receiving the book as a gift.


Here's the deal: this is Luther's Small Catechism in Latin. Of course, you could simply read it from your Concordia Triglotta (if you have a Triglot, that is), which weighs as much as a bowling ball (possibly an exaggeration), or you could peruse the Catechism from your handy-dandy Bekenntnisschriften, (I'm a Lutheran pastor and a language geek, and I don't have one...). But why? This is a wonderful format, affordable, and an invaluable resource for both easy beginner-level ecclesiastical Latin and basic Lutheran doctrine.


So let me give you the skinny as to why this is such a great little book:


  1. It is a "skinny little" book (only 96 pages, paperback, 9 x 6 inches, a third of an inch thick), one that you can easily stash in a briefcase or backpack (perfect for standing in line at Wal-Mart).
  2. The font is large and easy on the eyes (and laid out beautifully with each section taking up a single page) - a real plus for teaching children.
  3. It is inexpensive (only $7.50 on Amazon!). Here is the link.
  4. It includes a preface by noted LCMS scholar Gene Edward Veith (as well as an introduction by the author).
  5. It is chock-full of extremely helpful footnotes (points of Latin grammar and references to Hebrew, Greek, German and Latin words from Scripture - well done!).
  6. Abbreviations are clearly indicated (thus sparing me a pet peeve).
  7. It is the entire text of the Small Catechism, including the morning, evening, and table prayers and the Table of Duties.
  8. There is a glossary in the back of every Latin word used in the Small Catechism!
  9. An e-book version is available for download (Kindle) for (get this) $1.00! Here is the link.


I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know Edward Naumann. And if he e-mails me and says: "Yes, you do!" I will be even more embarrassed. I'm assuming he is the same Edward Naumann who is a scholar at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. But as a teacher myself and a collector (of sorts) of Latin books - Naumann is clearly a real-world teacher of real-world students. He has put together a practical little book that is easy to use, precise, and user-friendly. It is not meant to gather dust on a shelf. It is neither burdened with too much information, nor cursed with too little. It is a Latin book that Goldilocks would appreciate. You can tote it around without need of a dictionary. Naumann has also made it accessible and affordable, and I'm surprised that no-one thought to do this sooner - especially given the current interest among Lutherans in both the Latin language and classical education.


The typical Lutheran's familiarity with the Small Catechism as well as Luther's intended young audience makes this an ideal supplement for any beginning Latin course. It is a very safe wade into ecclesiastical and medieval Latin. I wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful little edition of the Small Catechism - even if you are not a Lutheran.


Hoc certissime verum est ("this is most certainly true!").

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