This unit will examine the historical context of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It will examine the intellectual and historical formation of Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII) and his particular study of the Council of Trent which shaped in a definitive way his language and framework in calling the Second Vatican Council. In studying the speeches and writings of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII, the student will come to understand the historical context of Vatican II’s call for aggiornamento (updating) and Pope John XXIII’s perception of an epochal shift for the Church and the world in the course of the twentieth century. An assessment of the historical importance of Vatican II will also be made.

Unit Code: CH9180C

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

Show when this Unit is running

Learning Outcomes


Contextualize Vatican II in relation to previous Church councils


Identify the major themes in the ongoing historical interpretation of Vatican II, noting in particular the evolution of the recent scholarly debates regarding the relative continuity/discontinuity of the Council


Articulate the cultural and intellectual formation of Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII), in particular his study of the Council of Trent and the reforms of St Charles Borromeo, that prompted him to call the Second Vatican Council


Demonstrate a capacity to situate the documents of Vatican II in the wider historical and theological context


Evaluate the distinctive nature of Vatican II as a hermeneutical key to assist in the ongoing interpretation of conciliar history


Analyse and interpret both primary and secondary sources in a critical fashion and demonstrate competence in the methodologies and conventions of advanced research in the discipline of history


Lectures and seminars


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial

1,000 word seminar paper

1000 20.0

5,000 word essay

5000 50.0
Written Examination

1 hour documents examination (1,000 words)

1000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 20 Jul, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-09-24 22:48:29 +1000