A Privileged Moment: «Dialogue» in the Language of the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965

Dialogue in the Language of the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965

by Ann Michele Nolan (Author)
©2006 Thesis XXII, 278 Pages


This book is the first major study to analyse the word ‘dialogue’ in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. ‘Dialogue’ actually translates two different Latin words, colloquium and dialogus, which do not mean the same thing. After a clear explanation of the important distinction between the dialectic of Thomism, where dialogue leads to an end-point, and the modern meaning of dialogue as an open-ended process between equal partners, the book argues that these dissimilar concepts became blurred in the documents of the Council.
A careful analysis of the interpretation of this word in a comparison across five major English translations of the documents demonstrates how the rhetorical power of dialogue was manipulated depending on how it was translated.
A provocative assessment of the significance of the different contexts in which each word was used offers a new insight: the existence of a two-tier system of dialogue depending on who was the Church’s partner in dialogue. Nonetheless the conclusion illuminates a common subtext to all uses of dialogue and illustrates how it is possible to receive Vatican II in the twenty-first century in an authentically dialogical way.


XXII, 278
ISBN (Softcover)
Vatikanisches Konzil (1962-1965) Dialog Religiöse Sprache Theology Church History Ecumenical Study History /Religion, Theology Religious Philosophy Philosophy
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2006. XXII, 278 pp.

Biographical notes

Ann Michele Nolan (Author)

The Author: After a long career in medical social work in the public health system while simultaneously studying philosophy and Catholic Church history, Ann Nolan was awarded her Ph.D. in theology by the University of Auckland in 2004. She is a member of the Systematic Theologians Association of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Australian Catholic Theological Association, the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern European Studies at the University of Auckland, and the Women Scholars of Religion and Theology Association in Australia. Ann Nolan is engaged in ongoing research into the contributions of early twentieth-century Catholic phenomenologist Edith Stein and theologian Romano Guardini to the modern meaning of dialogue.


Title: A Privileged Moment: «Dialogue» in the Language of the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965