Category Archives: Beyond NovAntiqua: Books

Beyond NovAntiqua: Latin Dictionaries

The gold standard among Latin dictionaries is A Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrew’s Edition of Freund’s Latin Dictionary (Oxford University Press USA, 1956), more often known as (which is to say, almost exclusively known as) the Lewis and Short dictionary. This should not be confused with the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD), which would be of much less use to most readers of NovAntiqua since the OLD confines itself to Latin as used before AD 200. The aptly acronymed OLD has thus become the dictionary for classicists, while the Lewis and Short is for anyone working with Latin texts written in the eighteen-or-so centuries afterward (though it covers classical Latin, too). Portability is not one of the selling points of the Lewis and Short. Nor is price.

At the other end of the spectrum size- and price-wise is the Collins Gem Latin-English Dictionary – extremely portable and surprisingly comprehensive. A newer edition is available, but we haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

We have mentioned the Lexicon of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Roy J. Deferrari (Loreto Publications, 2004) before, but it’s worth mentioning again here.



Beyond NovAntiqua: Logic – The Art of Defining and Reasoning

Logic: The Art of Defining and ReasoningLogic: The Art of Defining and Reasoning (Prentice Hall, 1963) by John A. Oesterle is the introduction to Aristotelian logic (read: the system of logic that ruled the West for two millennia) for those who would rather not plow through Aristotle. Or, better, for those who would like a summary and workbook on hand as they grapple with the Philosopher himself.

The list price for this not-very-large book is astonishing to me – $60 for a cheaply bound facsimile of a book published in 1963 (and originally published more than a decade before that), but since the copyright was renewed in 1980, it’s not in the public domain, and Prentice Hall can charge whatever it wants. Used copies of the various editions are usually available, and sometimes, with searching, one can even run across a copy for less than $20. If you ever see one, grab it!

Beyond NovAntiqua: The Intellectual Life

The Intellectual LifeA copy of The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods by A. G. Sertillanges, O. P. (Catholic University of America Press, 1987) is an ideal gift for someone beginning graduate studies. It is worth reading cover to cover – and more than once – but even opening it at random will  give the reader something worth mulling over. As evidence, the  fruit of a few entirely random openings right now:

From page 135:

The more precious an idea is, the less it matters where it comes from. Train yourself to indifference about sources. Truth alone has a claim, and it has that claim wherever it appears. As we must  not swear allegiance to anyone, so still less must we disdain anyone; and if it is not expedient to believe everybody neither must we refuse to believe anyone who can show his credentials.

From page 63:

But carried too far, silence in its turn has a disturbing effect; when all a man’s powers are intensely concentrated on his thinking, he easily loses his balance, his vision of the way; a diversion is indispensable to the life of the brain; we need the soothing effect  of action.

From page 150:

Choose your  books. Do not  trust interested advertising and catchy titles. Have devoted and expert advisors. Go straight to the fountainhead to satisfy your thirst. Associate only with first-rate thinkers. What is not always possible in personal relations is easy, and we must take advantage of it, in our reading. Admire wholeheartedly what deserves it, but do not lavish your admiration. Turn away from badly written books, which are probably poor in thought also.

Beyond NovAntiqua

You may have noticed that we are now incorporating a section titled “Beyond NovAntiqua” in the sidebar of this site. In this section, you’ll find links to non-NovAntiqua titles that we think (based, in part, on the search terms that bring people to this site) our readers would appreciate.

The space in the sidebar being limited, though, we wanted to provide a bit more of an introduction to the titles we have listed right now.

One-Volume Latin Summa Theologiae – A number of people have ended up at this site having done a search not for NovAntiqua‘s Volume One of a Latin-English edition of the Summa (let alone the newly-released Volume Four), but for a one-volume Latin edition of the Summa. The only one-volume Latin Summa that we are aware of is this one, published by San Paolo Edizioni (1999). It is the Latin of the Leonine edition, with critical apparatus. It’s a hefty book, but smaller than many editions of Shakespeare’s complete works or most unabridged dictionaries. You won’t find it on or in any American bookstore, but after some digging, we were able to find it being sold by and Deastore via – probably your best bet short of going to Italy yourself.

If you do find yourself in Rome and want to pick up a copy, stop in the Libreria Internazionale San Paolo (right up the street from St. Peter’s). Assuming things haven’t changed much in the last few years, it’ll be on the second floor of the bookstore along with other works of Aquinas in Latin – right next to the section of books in French. If they’re out of stock, try Ancora (also on Via della Conciliazione) or Libreria Leonina. Buy your copy, go to Mass at St. Peter’s, and then celebrate with a 2-euro cone of gelato from Old Bridgecrema, cioccolata, and nutella, with panna – have one for me, please. Thank you.

Lexicon of Saint Thomas AquinasA Lexicon of Saint Thomas Aquinas, byRoy J. Defarrari – This 1,200-page tome contains every Latin word found in the Summa Theologiae, as well as terms found in other works of Aquinas. In the words of the author’s foreword: “Each word as it appears will be followed by the different English meanings with which it is used, followed in turn by some illustrations of its use in each meaning taken from the works of Saint Thomas.” A goldmine for those interested in acquainting themselves with the Latin of St. Thomas.

Torrell's Saint Thomas AquinasWe are also featuring Jean-Pierre Torrell’s incomparable two-volume introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas: Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person And His Work and Saint Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master. These are not light reading, but if you want to have a better understanding of the man behind the works, these are the books to go to.

Anyone spending time with the works of Thomas Aquinas will soon be struck by the number of scripture references scattered throughout his text. With that in mind, we thought that it would make sense to locate a Latin-English Bible for readers of our Latin-English Summa. We are pleased to say that we found the ideal scriptural companion for our Summa Theologiae: Baronius Press’s Douay-Rheims and Clementina Vulgata: English-Latin Bible. The authorization of the Clementina Vulgata postdates Thomas Aquinas by roughly three centuries, but as we don’t have access to the actual Latin manuscripts of Scripture that St. Thomas studied, this will have to do. (The Douay-Rheims and the Clementine Vulgate are, however, the English and Latin texts referred to in the text and footnotes of the English translation contained in our edition of the Summa.)

Those interested in Latin-English resources and Gregorian Chant might find Fr. Samuel Weber, O.S.B.’s new Office of Compline worth a look. Chant settings for the night prayers from the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours (novus ordo) are arranged with Latin and English settings on facing pages. The book contains complete instructions for praying Compline, as well as a foreword by Cardinal Burke.

Keep an eye on the sidebar; I’m sure we’ll be adding titles from time to time. If you know of a title worth recommending to students of St. Thomas or readers of NovAntiqua in general, let us know in a comment or drop us an e-mail (mail[at], and we’ll check it out.

Also note that if you do decide to purchase any of these titles through the links provided here at, we do receive part of the proceeds from the sales. Thank you!