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Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin Hardcover – May 1, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"For seminarians studying for the priesthood, the "Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin" by Leo F. Stelten will be helpful for examining Vatican documents in the original language, papal encyclicals and allocutions, publications on church liturgy, and Cannon Law volumes. This product of years of teaching, now updated, will be a happy resource in chanceries as well. The format is easy to follow and the vocabulary of some 17,000 words and phrases is quite adequate."
--Reverend Joseph F. Downey, S. J., Editorial Director, Loyola University Press, Chicago, Illinois

"A working knowledge of Latin is important for anyone who wishes to study the nearly two thousand years of living tradition of the Catholic Church. It is essential for those who wish to study seriously the sacred sciences of philosophy, theology, and cannon law. Father Leo Stelten, drawing upon his long experiences in teaching Latin to students for the priesthood, has developed in his "Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin" a most helpful tool both for those who are beginning their study of the church's lingua materna, as well as for those who are working to renew and improve their knowledge of church Latin."
--Monsignor Raymond L. Burke, Supremum Signaturae Apostolicae Tribunal, Vatican City, Rome
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers; n Later printing edition (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565631315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565631311
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert W. Flammang on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to read the Vulgate and don't have 180 dollars to spend on Lewis & Short, this is the dictionary for you. Neither Cassel's nor the Chambers-Murray nor even the Oxford Latin dictionary will suffice; their vocabularies are restricted to classical authors. This is the best inexpensive Latin-English dictionary I've seen that lists words from after the 5th century AD. It simply has no competition!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this dictionary solely for reading the Latin Vulgate, for the on-line Vulgate reading group that I run. Although I have some knowledge of Greek, I wanted a good and easy-to-use resource that provides the Latin translations. This dictionary succeeds admirably, although you should have a decent basic Latin dictionary like Cassell's also. I have never found a word in the Vulgate that was not defined in either Cassell's or this dictionary. Even "problem words" (usually directly transliterated into Latin from Greek) are there - for example, "telonium".
In addition to good word coverage, it also explains idiomatic usages of words, especially with prepositions. Look at the example pages and you'll some examples of idiomatic uses of words with the preposition "ad".
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Format: Hardcover
For a small dictionary this book has proven extremely useful for working on medieval ecclesiastical texts. I picked it up at random and was soon using in preference to the more unwieldy Niermayr (still best for tough terms). DEL is particularly good at giving short definitions that are significantly different from classical usage such as found in Lewis and Short. Highly recommended.
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I agree with Ryan R. Grant's review below. It will be easier to use by someone with some familiarity with Latin. On the positive side, it is sturdily bound and neatly formatted with clear print on eye-ease paper--very convenient to use. But one thing that no one has mentioned so far is the accents. Following the practice of ecclesiastical latin, this dictionary uses acute accents to indicate the stressed syllable of each Latin word. This will be a minor annoyance for the user who tries to determine the stress on some verb forms. For example, the present tense of the verb "invénio" appears with the stress on the "e"; But there is no indication of how to determine where the stress falls on the second-person and third-person forms of that verb. On the other hand, in a classical dictionary where long vowels are marked by macrons; the lack of a macron written over the "e" in the verb "invenio" conveniently indicates that the "e" is short and that the stress must recede to the first syllable on those forms "ínvenis" and "ínvenit." Ultimately, the user of this dictionary will need to refer to a classical dictionary for this information.

A minor inconvenience is that I-stem nouns are not marked. There are about fifty of them in use; and although they can now be found on line with a little digging; it would have been convenient to have I-stem nouns indicated in this dictionary.

A third inconvenience is the lack of information regarding the valence of verbs. Not all Latin verbs take accusative objects. Some verbs take dative objects, and other verbs take genitive or ablative objects. This is important information, and in order to find it, a reader must search in a second dictionary.
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Format: Hardcover
As a canon lawyer and a Catholic traditionalist when it comes to the liturgy, I needed a good Latin-English dictionary that gives the ecclesiastical meaning of specific words. This has become the book I use. Unlike the other reviewers, I don't know how well it works with the Latin Vulgate, but I can attest that it works well with the Code of Canon Law and other canonical texts. It also works well with liturgical texts, whether we're talking rubrics, legal texts pertaining to the liturgy, or liturgical texts. This book should be in the library of every serious Catholic scholar.
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By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a very fine dictionary for scholarly or ecclesiastical use. Is is useful in working on Church documents and particularly the Vulgate. I highly recommend it for any persons working on Latin texts of an ecclesiastical nature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a general Latin dictionary. If you are learning Latin, you are better served by the Collins Gem Latin Dictionary. However, if you already know Latin and want a reference specifically for Latin as used in Ecclesiastical documents, this is a good reference. Remember that it is a specialized subset. Think of it like a "Dictionary of Medical Terms". You would not use that dictionary to learn English, and you would not use this dictionary to learn Latin. You need a general Latin dictionary to compliment this one.
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Format: Hardcover
The Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin is helpful-IF you already are past the intermediate level and know the grammar and a good deal of vocabulary already.

This is a one-way dictionary (Latin-English only, not English Latin) which makes it difficult when attempting to learn Ecclesiastical Latin. Thus if you want to find the meaning of an English word in Latin by looking it up you can't find it. I know some seminarians who take Latin, and all of them agree this dictionary is worthless for those trying to learn it. You are better off with a classical dictionary. I myself have taught Latin for 2 years, and can say pedagogically this dictionary is of little help.

However, if you already know the language, or perhaps you know Classical Latin and want to learn Ecclesiastical usage, this can be an excellent resource for translating the Breviary, Vulgate, Church Councils, Canon Law, Old certificates and Official Catholic Directories since in those you are reading the Latin and can look up its meaning. This dictionary includes not only nouns adjectives and verbs but phrases, constructions and nuances in Ecclesiastical documents.

Worthless to the Student

Valuable to the reader of Church Latin.
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