Stories from the Life of Christ – Description

Stories from the Life of Christ:
A Latin Reader for Intermediate Students

Selected, with an Introduction, Notes
and Comprehensive Vocabulary

by Sean Gabb
Centre for Ancient Studies, 2018
ISBN: 978-1983188732

The purpose of this book is to give a set of readings that are in genuine but fairly simple Latin, that are interesting in themselves, and that are accompanied by a Vocabulary in which nearly every word used in the text is fully explained. There is also a comprehensive Biographical Dictionary of the persons mentioned in the texts. The book is directed at intermediate students of Latin—that is, those who have made some progress in the language, but who still find the Roman Classics too difficult to read with any fluency.

 It will help:

  • A-Level students in England;
  • Advanced school students anywhere in the English-speaking world;
  • University students;
  • Students in home education;
  • Self-learners.

Saint Jerome (347–420 AD) was a writer of genius, and this is evident to anyone able to appreciate the difficulties he faced in producing his translation of The Bible. He was writing for a wider audience than the authors of the Roman classics had in consideration. This audience was those as well-educated as he was, but also countless millions of the uneducated. The result is a clear and flowing narrative that mirrors as exactly as Latin allows the style of the original Greek. The sentences are generally short, the grammar simple. Above all, even in our present age, when The Bible is not studied so commonly as it was, there can be few readers who will come to these extracts without some knowledge of the material. And this knowledge will often save readers the trouble of looking up words.

The principle of selection has been to provide a set of readings that are both varied in tone and content, and that are likely to be enjoyed for their own sake. The focus mainly on the narrative or exhortatory passages in Matthew and Luke. If, in all of the Gospels excluding Mark, much space is given to the Trial of Jesus Christ before Pilate, this is because it is an event of compelling interest. The texts have been punctuated, and all speech has been put in quotation marks. Avoiding divisual into verses—though these are given at the foot of each—the texts are laid out as reading extracts, the paragraphs divided as if in a modern novel.

Contents include:

  • The Annunciation;
  • The Birth of Christ in Bethlehem
  • The Slaughter of the Innocents;
  • The Temptation of Satan;
  • The Story of John the Baptist;
  • The Parable of the Good Samaritan;
  • The Parable of the Prodigal Son;
  • The Sermon on the Mount;
  • The Story of the Loaves and Fishes;
  • The Trial before Pilate;
  • The Crucifixion;
  • The Resurrection.

Review of the first book in this series (Stories from Paul the Deacon):

When I was learning Latin I remember getting old (some Victorian!) Latin texts. There was another problem, going from Latin lessons to real Latin texts is a huge jump. Here the author has chosen later texts written by Paul the Deacon (about 8th century). The Latin is simpler as a result and it makes the book a very useful stepping stone from Latin lessons to classical Latin authors. I went from lessons to Caesar, and this book would have made that transition a lot easier. I’m now in the stage of my Latin having gone rusty, and this book looks an ideal way for me to recapture some of that lost prowess. Also it has a vocabulary at the back. Yes I have a Latin dictionary, but experience with other books has shown me the value of having a vocabulary or dictionary at the back.


© 2017 – 2018, seangabb.

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