I can understand that many see Reginald Foster as an iconic latin teacher. Se also other background article

Especially due to his career as the Popes own latinist in the Vatican, as described in this article in The New Criterion.

He also appeared in this 2010 tv show as "The Latin King", where learning latin from Reginald Foster is compared to learning painting from Picasso or learning music from Mozart.

He is also know from appearing in Bill Mahers documentary about religion, called "Religulous" where he made some very bold quotes about the Vatican.

Here is a video of him teaching a class filled with many of his former students

Previously he also appeared regularly in the Vatican Radio show called "Latin Lover" where he made on the fly translations of various sentences.

Lately he published a book about latin named Ossa Latinitas Sola, The mere bones of Latin

But what is his concrete method for learning latin and how does it differ from traditional methods?

  • It is "Latinitatis", of course.
    – fdb
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 15:05
  • Okay, but could you elaborate on this?
    – MOLAP
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 6:31
  • 1
    Genitive case latinitatis "of Latin".
    – fdb
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 9:22
  • I was more looking for answers from people who have been on his famous Latin courses or have read his latest book. And on that basis give some answers/comments about his method in more details.
    – MOLAP
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


I found some kind of an answer in this lenghty review of Reginald Foster's book by Michael Fontaine:

Here he argues that the ways of learning latin can be dividin into The Living Tradition vs. The Philological Tradition, where Reginald Foster belongs to the first.

The 2 ways are described like this:

The Living Tradition

"The living tradition, like bodybuilders, aims to increase mass overall before refining the fat-muscle mix later on. Instead of commentaries, it favors dictionaries, synonyms, hacks, puns, contemporary English, and extensive reading."

[Reginald Foster] is in the business of teaching us the whole language, not how to prepare ourselves to just read chunks of Virgil or Julius Caesar. Make no mistake: 99.9% of the book is solid classical or Christian Latin that Erasmus or Cicero would have recognized immediately. But Foster insists, rightly, that anyone who wants to know Latin needs to know its vocabulary. As he points out, this method is like learning the piano: “This is the way a new pianist slowly grows in acquaintance with notes, keys, combinations, harmonies, rhythms, scales — the whole reality.”

The Philological Tradition

"Philology likes things lean and mean from the get-go, so it uses commentaries extensively and favors close reading — arguably, because it has to; the pace is glacial, so students can comment on individual words or maybe a sentence."


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