User login

Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction [#725]
Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction [#725]
  • A fresh account of the event of Vatican II, the documents it produced, and its roots and reception
  • Pays substantial attention to the diversity of thought and background at the Council
  • Rooted in recent scholarship on the Council, this is an accessible introduction to Vatican II that is perfect for an undergraduate or graduate classroom

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), or Vatican II, is arguably the most significant event in the life of the Catholic Church since the Reformation. The Council initiated, intentionally or not, profound changes not simply within Catholic theology, but in the religious, social, and moral lives of the world's billion Catholics. It also reconfigured, intellectually and practically, the Church's engagements with those outside of it - most obviously with regard to other religions.

The sixteen documents formally issued by Vatican II constitute some of the most influential writings of the whole twentieth century. Debates over their correct interpretation and authority are constant, but they remain an indispensable point-of-reference for all areas of Catholic life, from liturgy and sacraments, to the Church's vast network of charitable and educational endeavours the world over.

In this Very Short Introduction, Shaun Blanchard and Stephen Bullivant present the backstory to this event. Vatican II is explored in light of the wider history of the Catholic Church and placed in the tumultuous context of the 1960s. It distils the research on Vatican II, employing the first-hand accounts of participants and observers, and the official proceedings of the Council to paint a rich picture of one of the most important events of the last century.


1:Before the Council: roots of reform
2:The event of the Council: what happened at Vatican II?
4:Dei Verbum and divine revelation
5:Ecclesiology: the nature of the Church
6:Church and world
7:Conciliar 'hermeneutics': making sense of the debates over Vatican II
Further reading

About the author: 

Shaun Blanchard, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Newman Studies, and Stephen Bullivant, Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, St Mary's University, UK

Shaun Blanchard is Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Newman Studies. A graduate of North Carolina, Oxford, and Marquette, Shaun writes on a variety of topics in early modern and modern Catholicism. He is the author of The Synod of Pistoia and Vatican II (OUP, 2020) and, with Ulrich Lehner, co-edited The Catholic Enlightenment: A Global Anthology (2021). Forthcoming works include a monograph on ecclesiology in the late eighteenth-century English-speaking world, an anthology of translated Jansenist sources (co-edited with Richard Yoder), and book chapters on the British and Irish Catholic Enlightenment and the popes and the Enlightenment.
Stephen Bullivant is Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, and Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. He holds doctorates in Theology (Oxford, 2009) and Sociology (Warwick, 2019). He joined St Mary's in 2009, having previously held posts at Heythrop College, London, and Wolfson College, Oxford. Professor Bullivant has also held Visiting fellowship at the Institute for Social Change (University of Manchester), Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford), and the Institute for Advanced Studies (University College London). Professor Bullivant has published ten books, including: Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America since Vatican II (OUP, 2019), Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss, and How They Might Return (2019; with C. Knowles, H. Vaughan-Spruce, and B. Durcan), The Oxford Dictionary of Atheism (OUP, 2016; with L. Lee), and The Trinity: How Not to Be a Heretic (2015).

"This will be the case especially for non-Catholic readers rightly interested in the most influential event in the history of the Church since Trent." - Matthew Walther, The Lamp

"The present book has the advantage of brevity: the authors manage to cover an impressive number of issues in ample depth in a mere 139 pages. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals" - Choice

Product details

ISBN : 9780198864813

Shaun Blanchard; Stephen Bullivant
168 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Mar 2023
Very Short Introductions
Customer reviews

You may also like

Customer reviews



The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction [#725]

Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction [#725]

Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction [#725]