Catholic Theology of Revelation on the Eve of Vatican II

A Redaction History of the Schema De fontibus revelationis (1960-1962)


In recent literature on the history of the Second Vatican Council, the schema De fontibus revelationis is a constant point of reference. In most cases, its utter rejection during the conciliar debate on revelation, biblical exegesis, and the nature of Scripture and Tradition, is regarded as a milestone for the council's development. This book is devoted to the background, genesis, and evolution of that very document, and offers a critical revision of the way in which the document has been received in conciliar historiography, based upon a study of archival material. The result is a new approach, not only of the conciliar revelation debate, but also of the way in which the conciliar preparation period has been regarded up until the present day.

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Karim Schelkens, Ph.D. (2007) in Theology, Catholic University of Leuven, has studied in Leuven and at the Université Laval, Canada. He has published extensively on the history of the Second Vatican Council, including an edition of the Carnets conciliaires de Mgr. Gerard Philips (Peeters, 2006).
Winner of the Charles De Clercq Award of The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

"This book is a remarkable piece of scholarship both in terms of its depth of analysis and its conclusion ... Especially helpful is the historical background that S. provides throughout to contextualize the debates. The result is a new discovery."
Michael Attridge, University of St. Michael’s College Toronto. In: Theological Studies 73 (2012), p. 249.

"Cet ouvrage bien documenté nous impose de réfléchir à nouveaux frais, et c’est ce que l’on attend d’un bon livre." Gilles Routhier", Université Laval. In: Laval théologique et philosophique, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2011), pp. 362-366.

“For defining the battle lines within the Catholic community and suggesting the dissonance with other contemporary interpretative frames, this is a very useful book.”
James P. McCartin, Seton Hall University. In: Church History, Vol. 81, No. 4 (December 2012), pp. 1033-1034.

“While the book is a technical marvel in many ways, Schelkens does not forget that he is telling a story and in so doing records some of the major shifts in Catholic theology during the period in question.”
D. Minch. In: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Vol. 88, No. 4 (2012), pp. 537-538.

1. Preconciliar Vota and their Background. The Belgian Example
1. The Antepreparatory Vota
2. Background: Five Decades of Debates

2. The Preparatory Theological Commission
1. Composition
2. Establishment and Presidency
3. Electing Members and Consultors

3. The Schema Compendiosum (1960)
1. First Draft
2. Background and Reactions

4. The Constitutio de fontibus (January 1961)
1. A Roman Controversy
2. Constitutio de fontibus: Redaction

5. The Constitutio de fontibus revelationis (June 1961)
1. Background
2. Reactions to the January Draft
3. A Subcommission at Work (April – June)

6. Reception of the June Draft
1. The Theological Commission
2. The Central Preparatory Commission
3. The Schema on the Sources: A Compromise Draft

1. Some Notes on the Opening Days of the Council
2. Opening of Vatican II: A Schema Rejected
3. An Ill-Reputed Text
4. A Renewed Appraisal

Archival Sources and Selected Bibliography
Index of names
All those interested in contemporary church history, the history of catholic exegesis and revelation theology.
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