While Hebrew and Greek may be the languages of the Scriptures, Latin was for seventeen centuries the language of the Western Church, and many of its greatest treasures—not merely of the Church Fathers and medieval theologians, but of the Protestant Reformers and their heirs—still lie locked up in this forgotten tongue. We hope to change that.
What is it?
The Davenant Latin Institute aims to equip today’s seminarians, graduate students, and teachers with the competency to unearth these treasures, reading them in the original and perhaps even translating them for others to enjoy. We will be offering a program of online courses, both introductory and advanced, equipping students with basic Latin reading competence and, for those that desire, the skills they need to engage with and translate some of the most difficult early modern theological texts.
“The Davenant Latin Institute offers students of theology an excellent programme of introductory and advanced-level instruction in the Latin tongue. With a view to optimum utility, this programme is systematically constructed to provide students of the Reformation and early-modern philosophy and history with an indispensable scholarly proficiency.”
—W. J. Torrance Kirby, Prof. of Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Centre for Research on Religion, McGill University
“I had already taken an Ecclesiastical Latin course using Collin’s Primer, but I did not feel comfortable with some of the more advanced grammatical constructions. However, after taking the summer intensive course from Davenant, my confidence doubled! The teachers were more than qualified, the online interface was fluid and I came out of the course confident in my own ability to handle difficult Classical Latin grammar. I highly recommend the Davenant program to anyone interested in reading either Classical or Ecclesiastical Latin.”
—Samuel Ketcham, M.Div. student, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
“The Davenant Latin Institute is just what I have been looking for. An opportunity to improve my Latin, and to do so with a concentration on early modern texts. The combination of videos which work through key Latin texts, videos featuring excellent lectures on historical and theological and philosophical background, and real-time class meetings via modern technology, has been excellent. My Latin is improving, and I look forward to continuing to improve my Latin and to engage central theological texts.”
—Dr. Bradley G. Green, Associate Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition, Union University
Who is it for?
The program is for anyone who wants to learn to read theological Latin, whether graduate students pursuing research, seminarians or pastors wanting to broaden their reading of the church’s tradition or prepare for specialized research, or teachers or professors who recognize their need to read Latin to teach most effectively in their vocations. Our program seeks to fill an important gap, focusing neither strictly on classical Latin or so-called ecclesiastical Latin, but recognizing that anyone who wants to read broadly in the Christian theological tradition, especially in the early modern period, needs to be familiar with both. Using our courses, a dedicated student can progress from zero Latin knowledge right through to advanced translation proficiency over the course of two years. Since nearly all courses are offered online, anyone anywhere can enroll, and we have already had students from six continents and dozens of institutions.
Feb. 24, 2016: Registration opens for all 2016-17 courses
Jun. 9–22, 2016: Residential Intensive Introduction to Latin
Jun. 13–Jul. 8, 2016: LAT 511— Introduction to Theological Latin, Part I (Intensive Version)
Jul. 15–Aug. 12, 2016: LAT 512—Introduction to Theological Latin, Part II (Intensive Version)
Aug. 22–Dec. 9, 2016, 2016:
LAT 501—Introduction to Theological Latin, Part I (Standard Version)
LAT 521—Introduction to Theological Latin, Part I (Flexible Version)
LAT 601—Intermediate Theological Latin Reading, Part I
LAT 703—Advanced Theological Latin Reading: Reformation and Early Modern
Do I need to be a graduate student or seminarian to participate?
No, in fact, you do not need to currently belong to an academic institution at all. Pastors, teachers, and independent scholars are welcome as well, although most of our students are currently enrolled at graduate students or seminaries.
I'm not sure which level my current Latin ability is at. Which course should I enroll in?
No problem. We have four placement exams, which can help us and you determine if you are ready for the Intro Part II, the Intermediate Part I, Intermediate Part II, or Advanced levels. If you’re interested in enrolling but aren’t sure, make your best guess in selecting your course, and then we’ll invite you to take the appropriate placement exam, after which we can re-assess if necessary.
Is there a drop/add date?
We will not normally be allowing students to join one of the classes after the registration deadlines for each course. Students needing to drop a class will be eligible to receive a 60% refund if they drop within the first three weeks of a semester-long course or first week of an intensive course. Students dropping out of a tutorial course may do so at any time and will be refunded $25 for each tutorial unit not yet completed.
How do the live classes work?
All of our live classes use the state-of-the-art videoconferencing software, WebEx, which should work reliably for you as long as you have access to an average-speed internet connection. Recordings of each class, and any “whiteboards” used, will be saved for students who were unable to make a particular class meeting.
Does it matter what time zone I am in?
It is important that you be in a position to participate in most of the live classes in order to discuss the lessons and your work with your professor and classmate. It is our goal to schedule live class times that will fit within normal waking hours for all enrolled students, wherever they live on the globe, though obviously the times will be more convenient for some than others. We will determine the scheduled class times around the registration deadline for each course, depending on the available times indicated by all enrolling students. If the resulting time does not work for you, you will have the option of switching to a self-paced or tutorial approach.
Will I receive credit toward my degree?
This decision rests with your particular degree-granting institution. We have designed these courses so as to meet accreditation standards for graduate-level theological education, but we are not ourselves a degree-granting institution, and each institution makes its own decisions about if and when to award credits for courses offered by third parties. We are working on establishing formal degree-recognition partnerships with other accredited institutions, and currently have agreements in place with New Saint Andrews College and Greystone Theological Institute. Please speak to your own school’s Academic Dean and we will be happy to correspond with them about this possibility.
Are scholarships available?
Yes, we do offer scholarships for tuition discounts or in rare cases complete tuition coverage. Scholarships are awarded to students in difficult financial circumstances who can demonstrate strong academic ability and discipline, and the importance of these courses to their studies. Scholarships are very competitive, and we have worked to price these courses well below market averages, so we ask that you not apply if you are in a position to pay full tuition. To apply, click here.
What can I do to best prepare in advance for the classes?
Draft syllabi, along with recommendations from our instructors, will be sent out well in advance to all enrolled students.
Dr. W. Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh), will be directing the program as a whole. He has published extensively in Reformation studies and teaches philosophy at Moody Bible Institute. He currently serves as President of the Davenant Trust.
Ryan Handermann (M.A., New Saint Andrews College) runs our Introductory and Intermediate courses. He has several years of experience teaching Latin at Ambrose School and also online at Veritas Academy and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Latin at New Saint Andrews College.
Dr. Aaron Clay Denlinger will be running our Advanced level courses. He is a Research Fellow for the Puritan Studies Program of the University of the Free State, and the author or editor of several books and numerous articles on early modern Reformed history and theology. Recent work includes a translation of Robert Rollock’s 1596 Quaestiones et responsiones aliquot de foedere Dei (Eugene: Pickwick Publications, forthcoming).
Dr. Eric J. Hutchinson lectures for the Advanced Early Modern Latin Reading course and Intermediate courses. He is Associate Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College, where he has taught since 2007. To his extensive experience in teaching classical and early Christian texts, he has more recently added Reformation scholarship and translation, with his translation of Niels Hemmingsen’s De Lege Naturae forthcoming soon from Christian’s Library Press.