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THEL205 Ecclesiastical Latin B


THEL206 Ecclesiastical Latin C

Teaching organisation

The unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total number of hours includes structured online learning activities, including activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning (including group work), video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve individual reading of texts, memorizing paradigms and increasingly complex vocabulary, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Building on the foundations laid in Ecclesiastical Latin A and B, this unit involves study of Medieval Latin through reading and translating original texts from late antiquity to the late middle ages. These will include poetry, hymns, saints' lives, homilies and other extracts from the Church fathers. The emphasis will be on reading medieval Latin in its literary and historical contexts, while the unit also enables students to engage in theological questions on the basis of detailed original language study of texts.

Latin was the language of the Vulgate Bible and the Liturgy, of Christian poetry and prose, and was the main language of scholarship across different disciplines including theology in the West up to the modern period. In Medieval Latin, students consolidate their understanding of Latin syntax, and sample a range of texts from different genres, translating complex texts with increasing confidence and independence. Students develop research projects which engage with historical theology, constructive theology, and/or biblical studies, applying their knowledge of medieval Latin to significant questions and central thinkers in the Catholic theological tradition. The course thus enables students to situate this tradition in rich historical, literary, intellectual, and cultural contexts.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate competence in translating texts from a range of different genres and analyzing their syntax, including in online learning environments (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9; GA10);

LO2 - identify and outline the characteristics of different literary genres of Medieval Latin (GA4; GA5; GA8);

LO3 - analyse the historical context of the texts encountered in the course, including social, cultural, literary, and theological factors (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • advanced Medieval Latin syntax;  
  • an overview of literary genres typical of medieval Latin;  
  • a survey of regional characteristics in orthography, grammar and lexicon; 
  • translation of texts across a range of different genres, regions, and time periods. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total number of hours includes structured online learning activities, including activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning (including group work), video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve individual reading of texts, memorizing paradigms and increasingly complex vocabulary, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

 The unit is normally offered in a fully online mode. Students interact with each other and with academic staff through formally structured and sequenced online learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to demonstrate understanding of advanced vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, integrating new information with existing knowledge. They then apply what they have learned in translation exercises as well as in an interpretive and analytical research essay. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized, as students work together on grammar, syntax, and translation exercises, and together discuss generic features of texts, as well as other aspects of their historical context.  

THEL206 recognises students as adult learners who engage best when learning outcomes are clear and they are given the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their active participation in this unit is essential. Formative and summative assessment tasks assist the students to chart and maintain progress throughout the unit. Particularly, informal assessment by instructors and through peer-assessment in the online environment is designed to give students clear feedback about progress and support them to learn throughout the unit, and staged summative assessment also provides important feedback opportunities. Learning and assessment is thus designed to be a collaborative, engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop relevant knowledge, skills, and graduate attributes.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).

 The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

 The unit’s main focus is on establishing skills in translation across a range of genres while also developing students’ capacity to interpret texts in context. It is the capstone unit for Latin within the degree program.

 The first assessment task examines how well students can understand and translate Latin across a range of genres. It thus also enables assessment of students’ ability to demonstrate and apply knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and syntax.

 The second assessment task enables students to focus in detail on a text or texts chosen in discussion with the instructor. Students must include analysis of generic features and relevant aspects of historical context. This tasks thus tests student’s interpretive and analytical skills, as well as their grasp of Latin translation.  

 The third assessment task examines translation ability, ability to apply knowledge of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, and the students’ ability to analyse significant features of texts across a range of genres and time periods.

 The second and third assessment tasks enable students to reflect on their work across the unit and demonstrate skills in translation, linguistic analysis, critical thinking, and communication.

 Classes include similar informal tasks (both for individual students and small groups), preparing students for assessment tasks related to translation, and critical commentary and interpretation. The assessment strategy is concerned to provide appropriate scaffolding to enable students to build on their previous knowledge and apply it to new situations. Assessment tasks are therefore closely related to classroom activities and are clearly related to learning outcomes and associated graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Translation Assignment (Latin to English). This tests ability in translation across a range of genres, while also allowing students to apply knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.


LO1, LO2

GA4; GA5, GA8; GA9; GA10

Essay on a Medieval Latin Text: Genre and Historical Context. This enables students to demonstrate interpretive and analytical skills, and apply knowledge of Medieval Latin to literary, historical, cultural, and theological questions.


(1500 words)

LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4; GA8; GA9

Translation and Commentary test. This examines translation skills, the ability to identify and interpret key generic features of texts, and the student’s ability to analyse important aspects of the texts’ meaning and historical context.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4; GA5, GA8; GA9; GA10

Representative texts and references

Brooks, C. Reading Latin Poetry Aloud. A Practical Guide to Two Thousand Years of Verse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

 Griffiths, A. Ordo Romanus Primus: Latin text and translation with introduction and notes. Norwich: Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2013.

 Harrington, K. P. and J. Pucci. Medieval Latin. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

 Mantello, F. A. C. and A. G. Rigg, eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.

 Niermeyer, J. F. Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minu., Leiden: Brill, 1976.

 Sidwell, K. Reading Medieval Latin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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