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Salvete omnes, I want to try my hand on the Nova Vulgata, but I wanted to do so deliberately and increasing the difficulty gradually so I can use it as comprehensible input. Could anyone here give me a ranking of the books of the Nova Vulgata from easiest to hardest in your personal opinion? If you've only read the older Vulgate, you can also make a ranking. Even though they are different it would still help have an idea of where to start and how to go about it. I'm not looking for any objective, metrics-oriented list. Just your personal list from easiest to hardest to help me navigate my reading.

Thank you for your help!

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  • Related: latin.stackexchange.com/questions/20616/…
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 1:33
  • Yes, although it seems to be focused more on classical authors, it is a similar problem. Reading through the comments, it seems people were a bit too focused on being objective and ended up not answering him lol I'd be very much grateful with any list. I don't think we can be over scientific about it. I'd be content with a list that a Latin speaker feels best ranks these books in difficulty, even if his explanation to why be no more sophisticated than "this book is harder to read than that" or "this book uses weird sentence structure/vocabulary" etc. Anything really.
    – Victor BC
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 1:39
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    That "him" is me! I'm looking for something more "objective", but if you're wanting someone's experience, definitely add that to the question, as some people might not catch on to that.
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 1:56
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    I will say that I found Mark easiest, but otherwise all the NT seemed pretty easy, especially if you already know Classical Latin.
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 2:00
  • That's very helpful @cmw. I'll start with Mark then! I edited the question. If you can try your hand on answering it, I'd be grateful!
    – Victor BC
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 12:13

2 Answers 2

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Your question brings me back to the days when I first started studying Latin in earnest. I purchased copies of the vulgate, the Clementina, the Stuttgart edition, and the Nova. I started reading the Vetus Testamentum, but pretty soon I figured out that the Novum was (usually) a lot easier.

This was thirty years ago, and my Latin has improved enough that I really don't find any part of the Vulgate very hard any more. But since you asked, let me bore you with some of the vague memories of my youth.

My recollection is that the Gospel of St John was the easiest, followed (fairly closely) by his three epistles.

Next, came the three synoptics. They were pretty similar in difficulty, but my fuzzy memories say Matthew was a bit easier, and Mark a bit harder.

Next came the epistles of St Peter.

After that in difficulty came the epistles of St Paul. Hebrews being the easiest, and the Pastorals being the hardest.

Then the Apocalypse.

Then Jude and James.

Then, a distant last, Acts. Indeed, I had found no book of the vulgate more difficult than Acts, although I have only read sporadically from the Vetus Testamentum.

There you have it. I was an American, born in the sixties, educated in public schools, who, on a lark, devoured Gavin Betts' Teach Yourself Latin, and bought myself a Chambers-Murray dictionary, and a preposterous slew of vulgates, and had at it. It was a very fun slog. Since that does not describe you (probably) your mileage will vary.

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    Oh, man, Betts and Chambers-Murray, that takes it back. Are you me? (Though I quickly moved on from Betts; fortunately I found better, but I still have a real soft spot for Chambers-Murray.)
    – cmw
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 2:42
  • @cmw I'm not you! But yes, I bought Chambers-Murray because I could not afford Lewis and Short. I eventually bought Lewis and Short (I was single then.), and do not regret it. I graduated from Betts to Woodcock. I still love Betts and consult on occasion.
    – Figulus
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 3:09
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    I'll choose your answer because it's more detailed!
    – Victor BC
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 11:01
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    By the way, you might appreciate this site.
    – cmw
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 5:15
  • @cmw Many thanks for that! I had not realized he passed away. Another hero of mine I will never meet in this life.
    – Figulus
    Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 2:32
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I've only read the older Clementine Vulgate and this is my gut ranking (easiest to hardest): Mark, Matthew, John, Luke and Acts, All Epistles (Paul especially hard).

I just remember Mark and Matthew being ridiculously easy for my level and Luke being surprisingly hard. I don't remember having much of an opinion on John's difficulty so he finds himself between them in the middle. I honestly always gave up on almost every epistle especially those written by Paul (but I have a hard time with those in English sometimes). Hope this helps a bit.

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    This is very useful, thank you! Have you read also the Old Testament?
    – Victor BC
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 13:49
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    I've only read small samples of a wide range of books in the OT. I don't remember anything specific about the difficulty level of any specific book. Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 15:46

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