Latin by the Natural Method by Fr. Most
Fr. William Most’s acclaimed series “Latin by the Natural Method” has long been out of print. In 2015 Mediatrix Press changed that by getting the series back in print. Fr. Most operates from the principle that 4th century Latin is more advanced than Classical Latin, as far as the communication of ideas in a clear and intelligible manner is understood. So he begins volume 1 with readings written in a 4th century style, provided with facing vocabulary that assists one in reading natively without the aid of a dictionary. As the course progresses more grammar is given, complicated grammatical vehicles are made simple and the readings progress from a brief Roman history through Augustus to slight rewrites of the Vulgate text beginning with Genesis and proceeding through the Exodus. By going back and re-reading the lessons, vocabulary retention is vastly superior to flash cards and other disjointed methods of learning language. [NB: This is in the 3rd edition and the typos noted in some places, e.g. Amazon, have all been completely corrected]
In Volume 2, Fr. Most begins again precisely where he left off, but has craftily written the readings from the standpoint of review. The vocabulary increases and review of lessons becomes paramount. But beginning with Joshua the whole course of the Old Testament through the Maccabees completes, and then Fr. Most begins the march towards the more difficult Classical Latin, now that the basics of the language are under one’s belt. This he does with the prayers of the Mass, written in Classical Roman rhetorical styles, then direct readings from St. Cyprian of Carthage, and the Roman historian Sallust. When one finishes book 2, he should be generally proficient in Latin and only rarely need a dictionary if he has kept up re-reading the lessons to increase vocabulary retention. This is important in all the books.
The Teacher’s guide contains an explanation of Fr. Most’s teaching philosophy and his philosophy of learning languages. He also provides a history of Latin instruction from the middle ages to his day, and then structures commentary on each lesson and how it should be taught. Following this he has the answer key for all the Latin-English questions, which begin in chapter 9 of the first volume, as well as all the same in volume 2. This is a valuable guide to navigating both books on one’s own.
Volume 3 Update: We are sad to report there has not been much movement on book 3 which brings the reader through Cicero and finally St. Augustine direct and unedited, but with facing vocabulary. We are working to bring this into print but doing the layout and fixing typographical errors takes a long time, especially in tandem with our other projects. If you bought the set, you are on a list and volume 3 will ship to you as soon as it is available. But, on the other hand, if you are using this series faithfully, it will still be a year or so before you are even ready, and 2 years if you just bought the books 😉
Latin by the Natural Method set
You can purchase all three books, plus place a pre-order for volume 3, at a discount!
Latin by the Natural Method Set:
The Collected Works of St. Augustine: Latin Edition
We are still working on bringing all of St. Augustine’s works into easily affordable Latin editions. This requires carefully editing of the Latin text to avoid typographical errors, since these are completely reprinted in modern fonts and not facsimiles of older versions. While they will not be critical editions (since that is beyond our resources) they will provide Migne’s text of St. Augustine from the Patrologia.
Confessions is a classic not only of the Christian tradition but even of Western Civilization itself. St. Augustine presents us, in 12 books, not merely with autobiography, but also meditations on the nature of God, considerations of God’s mercy, lament for his past sins, and some of the best Latin writing in the whole tradition of Latin. Augustine was not only a first rate thinker but a great saint who loved very deeply.
In De Trinitate, St. Augustine searches the scripture for clues to understanding the Trinity and then defends the the Christian patrimony as well as the decrees of the Council of Nicaea against the Arians. Then, Augustine seeks to understand the mystery of the divine Trinity the vestage of God, which is the human mind, for evidence of the Trinity in creation, and thereby also suggests a method to the serious Christian of spiritual self-discovery and renewal. This text is completely in Latin, being an OCR of Migne’s text, carefully corrected.