Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation was a life-changer for the twentieth-century church. In this splendid little volume, The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum, Fr. Ron Witherup tells us how it came about, what it said, and some of what happened as a result. It's a must-read for every religious educator in the English-speaking world.
Raymond F. Collins, Department of Religious Studies, Brown University
This book is a "must" for understanding the refined position of the Catholic church on sacred Scripture as proclaimed by Vatican II. Authored by a foremost biblical scholar, this book presents keen insights into the history of debates and discussions leading to the final approved text. Fr. Witherup's commentary on each chapter of Dei Verbum offers an outstanding analysis of Divine Revelation, the relationship between Scripture and tradition, the transmission of Revelation and related questions. With its helpful charts and glossary, this book is a welcomed resource that I cannot praise enough.
Most Revered Donald W. Trautman, Bishop Emeritus of Erie
Ron Witherup's book on Dei Verbum, Vatican II's dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, is a gem. He provides, in effect, a clear and accessible "exegesis" of a document whose import and impact continue fifty years later. In addition, Fr. Witherup sets Dei Verbum in its historical context and offers practical suggestions for its ongoing appropriation. I highly recommend this book, especially for bible study groups and parish education classes.
Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, Associate Professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry
Vatican II's declaration Dei Verbum has proven to one of the most important and lasting actions of the Council, injecting new life and vigor into the biblical renewal of the Catholic Church. Ronald Witherup, SS, is, as he notes, a `product' of this renewal-becoming a noted Catholic voice in the interpretation of the Scriptures. His dedication and skill are on display here as he provides an in-depth but very accessible commentary on the Council's statement and lays out its meaning for the life of the Church today.
Donald Senior, CP, President Emeritus and Professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago
The book is entirely accessible and blessedly concise. It would . . . be perfect for use in adult faith formation class or in RCIA or for the general reader. It looks at the historical context out of which Dei Verbum came, and examines each paragraph of the document, explaining the key citations and those significances that might not be obvious to the average reader . . . Reading Witherup's short but exceedingly well done analysis of the text should help cure the neglect that Dei Verbum has received. Any parish study group, adult faith formation class, high school CCD instructor, and the like will derive great benefit from reading it and reacquainting themselves with the critical document of Vatican II. I commend it without reserve.
Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
This volume summarizes the history and principal teaching of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum). Witherup offers a history of Dei Verbum, provides commentary on the text, and considers the ongoing interpretation and controversies surrounding Dei Verbum as well as some "fruits" of this landmark document.
New Testament Abstracts
A book for all seasons-but especially today! As our commitment to hearing and living the Word of God deepens and as we continue to comprehend the treasure, ramifications and challenges of the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Witherup takes us on a journey of understanding and appreciation of Scripture and one of the Council's foundational documents, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, a journey that is unequalled. A survey of the history, the meaning and implications of Dei Verbum, as well as practical suggestions for the future are succinctly summarized with comprehensive clarity and fervent fidelity. This book is ideal for individual and group reflection and study, and then needs to be kept on a near-by bookshelf for continual reference.
Janet Schaeffler, OP, Author, Retreat and Adult Faith Formation Facilitator
This would be a very valuable resource for parish study groups.
The Bible Today
Father Ronald Witherup, PSS, has done a valuable service for priests, pastoral ministers, catechists and the church in general with the publication of The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum. . . . Accompanying the volume is The Word of God at Vatican II Study Guide developed by Little Rock Scripture Study. The [study] guide has four sessions and is a fine resource for adult faith formation classes, RCIA, Bible study groups and diocesan education programs.
Ronald Witherup's treatment of the great Constitution on Divine Revelation provides the reader with an excellent tour of one of the most important church documents of the last five hundred years. It's both scholarly and yet very accessible. For teachers, preachers, and pastoral ministers, this book is essential reading because it embraces so fully the central role of the inspired Word of God in the life of today's Church.
Bill Huebsch is the author of The Spiritual Wisdom of Saint John XXIII (Twenty-Third Publications, 2014)
In order to deepen both our relationship to Scripture, and to God, we must understand what we read and pray with. As a writer and speaker, I often refer to Dei Verbum, frequently urging others to study this essential document as a way of deepening their understanding of Sacred Scripture. In this treasure of a book, Ronald Witherup, SS, offers those who are familiar with Dei Verbum, as well as those who are just beginning, new and important insights into the Word of God.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn is a Catholic writer, and lay minister in Albany, NY. Her work can be accessed at There Will Be Bread
This little book is a delight to read and ponder. Suffussed with the spirit of Vatican II, it offers informative and valuable "revelations" on Divine Revelation.