Sunday, November 23, 2014

Moving Forward with a Latin Commentary on Book 2 of Augustine's Confessions

In lieu of their original translation final, my upper level Latin students unanimously agreed that they would prefer to work toward creating a commentary on Book 2 of the Confessions. To that end, each student has been assigned a ca. 435 word chunk of the text to work on. Our primary goals will be to address difficulties that an intermediate level Latin student might have with the Latin vocabulary and grammar. We should be able to work through the entire text in the time remaining during the semester, so the students will be able to draw from our in class discussions and translations as they prepare their section of the commentary. 

While they're working on their sections, I'll be looking at the best way to compile and then publish our final result as an open access document.

Augustine Confessions Commentary Project

Goal: Produce a grammatical commentary geared toward intermediate Latin students. First and foremost such a commentary should assist with grammatical constructions, clarify in cases of complex word order, and indicate nuances of the non-classical Latin vocabulary. To meet these needs the commentary should provide individual entries on phrases and words in the text that provide basic definitions and form identifications for individual words, and identifications of grammatical constructions with reference to a standard grammar text. In cases of complex word order, clarification by sentence diagramming or re-ordering the Latin in a more familiar English word order may be desirable.

Of secondary importance in creating our commentary may be to provide descriptive headings for sections of the text. Additionally, notes addressing aspects of relevant (late) Roman culture would be a welcome addition to provide the reader, familiar with classical Latin authors such as Cicero and Caesar, with a point of reference to place Augustine within his cultural context as a Roman living in 4-5th century CE North Africa.

Resources: Please make use of the Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary. It is available on the Perseus Project and is used in the SPQR app. Likewise for grammar commentary, use Allen & Greenough’s New Latin Grammar. This is also on the Perseus Project and in SPQR; it is also the grammar that was available at the University Bookstore for this course. For non-classical Latin constructions Nunn’s An Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin may be of assistance. It is freely available on

Format: Please limit your use of formatting in typing up your commentary. Plain text would be ideal. In addition, organize your entries in the following fashion:
  • ·         Reference to the text : lemma : commentary
  • ·         Reference to the text – book, chapter and sentence number within the chapter
  • ·         Lemma – the word or phrase you are addressing in the Latin
  • ·         Commentary – for vocabulary this should include the form (e.g. gender, number and case) first, and for grammatical constructions it should first list the type of construction followed by a reference to the appropriate section of Allen & Greenough.

Example from the beginning of Book 2 of Augustine’s Confessions (2.1.1):

1 recordari volo transactas foeditates meas et carnales corruptiones animae meae, non quod eas amem, sed ut amem te, deus meus. 2 amore amoris tui facio istuc, recolens vias meas nequissimas in amaritudine recogitationis meae, ut tu dulcescas mihi, dulcedo non fallax, dulcedo felix et secura, et conligens me a dispersione, in qua frustatim discissus sum dum ab uno te aversus in multa evanui. 3 exarsi enim aliquando satiari inferis in adulescentia, et silvescere ausus sum variis et umbrosis amoribus, et contabuit species mea, et computrui coram oculis tuis placens mihi et placere cupiens oculis hominum. : recordari : recordor, recordari, recordatum : to call to mind, recollect : non quod eas amem : causal; A&G 540, but Nunn 156 on later Latin’s disregard for division between uses of the subjunctive with quod causal clauses.

No comments:

Post a Comment