PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Atlanta, GA
November 21-24, 2015

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Session Index (PDF)

Participant Index (PDF)

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Exhibitor Index and Exhibit Hall Maps (PDF)

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Vatican II Studies Group

Statement of Purpose: 

From 2012 to 2016, this Group will pay scholarly attention to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), one of the most significant events in the history of the Catholic Church — an event that had wide-ranging implications for other faiths, other Christian churches, and for the wider world alike. This Group has a double focus. On one hand, we focus on deepening the understanding of the history of Vatican II, its link with movements of renewal in Catholic theology and in the Church in the decades prior to Vatican II, the history of the reception of the Council, and the redaction history of the different documents of the Council. On the other hand, we have a strong theological focus and will pay attention both to hermeneutical issues connected to methods of interpreting conciliar teaching and to the interpretation of the most important documents of Vatican II in the year of their anniversary, starting with the liturgical constitution (1963–2013). By looking more closely at the past, our Group hopes to promote conciliarity and synodality in the Christian churches in the present.

Call for Papers: 

Catholicism vis-à-vis Modernity and Beyond: Religious Liberty, Other Faiths and “Signs of the Times”

The Second Vatican Council marked a historic turn to the world by the Catholic Church, reflecting a renewed consciousness of its mission. Fifty years ago, in 1965, the Council approved two landmark documents on religious freedom and on the Church in the modern world. For the 2015 AAR annual convention we invite contributions to the ways in which the Declaration on religious freedom (Dignitatis Humanae) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in modern and contemporary times (Gaudium et Spes) are emblematic of a new attitude of engagement with society, culture, and the religious other, on their reception and continuing significance in the context of the twentieth- and twenty first centuries. Among topics that might be considered:

  • The drafting, composition, disagreements and controversies over the texts of Dignitatis Humanae and Gaudium et Spes, as well as key conciliar and scholarly figures involved;

  • The debate in the United States and other contexts concerning religious freedom and public life, in light of Dignitatis Humanae and Gaudium et Spes;

  • The role of Dignitatis Humanae in the resistance to the Second Vatican Council by traditionalists;

  • Discerning the “signs of the times” (Gaudium et Spes, par. 4) emerging in twenty-first century;

  • The legacy and continued relevance of Gaudium et Spes for differing pastoral and missional contexts today (e.g. in Latin American, Africa, Asia, or with reference to pope Francis' ecclesial priorities).

Inter-Religious Dialogue in Our Times: The Legacy of Nostra Aetate

The Second Vatican Council represents a shift in the attitude of the Catholic Church towards non-Christian religions both at the theological and existential level. This was manifest especially in the declaration Nostra Aetate, approved and promulgated fifty years ago, on October 28, 1965: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions” (Vatican II, Nostra Aetate, par. 2).

Along with the Ecclesiological Investigations Group, the Interfaith and Interreligious Studies Group, and the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Sacred Texts Group (SBL) the Vatican II Studies Group welcomes proposals on the following topics related to the declaration of Vatican II Nostra Aetate on non-Christian religions:

  • The appreciation of the importance of the Jewish people and their covenant for Christians in Nostra Aetate paragraph 4.

  • The role of Buddhism and Hinduism as religiones antiquae (paragraph 2), and of Muslims (paragraph 3) in relationship to Judaism in the history of the text of Nostra Aetate.

  • The role of the Shoah in placing the “Jewish question” on the conciliar agenda and the political and religious history of the Middle East as the background of the theological debates on inter-religious dialogue in the (Catholic) Church(es) in the 1960 and at Vatican II.

  • The intervention of political-diplomatic tensions between Israel and Arab countries in the agenda of Vatican II about inter-religious dialogue.

  • The reception of Nostra Aetate in its intertwining with the history of religious coexistence in these last 50 years.

  • The role of Nostra Aetate and its reception in the theology of religions, in the emergence of comparative theology, and in inter-religious dialogue today.

Proposer names are visible to chairs and steering committee members at all times
ChairSteering Committee