This is a work in progress (slow progress at that), last updated January 2018.

I will indicate on this page some of the most helpful material I have found in my work. There will be several categories:

  • biography of Wojtyła / Pope John Paul II;
  • reflections by Pope John Paul II
  • writings of Wojtyła / Pope John Paul II;
  • studies of his writings and thought.

Note: Many of these books have multiple editions from several publishers.

John Paul’s own writing can be categorised in different ways. I suggest three basic ones: foundational scholarly texts, personal reflections and meditations, and papal documents. The trouble is that there is a huge overlap: many of the personal reflections and books comprised of interview in fact contain crucial insight into his scholarly work.

Currently, I am inclined to think that a good place to begin with the study of Pope John Paul II would be with the personal reflections and meditations of the Pope himself. But then again, sometimes that does not yield its full harvest without an understanding of his scholarly works.

My own approach to the particular document that I am researching requires reading in different fields, including philosophy and soteriology, in order to penetrate the rich layers of meaning.


Author Title Place of publication: Publisher Date Notes
Weigel, George Witness to Hope. The Biography of Pope John Paul II. London: Harper Collins 2005. This very substantial biography by George Weigel is essential reading. Some of the material Weigel uses is found in the autobiographical reflections of John Paul referenced below. These are actually easier reading than Weigel.
Weigel, George The end and the beginning : Pope John Paul II : the struggle for freedom, the last years, the legacy New York: Dubleday 2010 The sequel
Malinski, Mieczyslaw Pope John Paul II, the Life of Karol Wojtyla New York: Crossroad 1981 Despite its conversational style this is an important book written by a long term friend of John Paul II, and it is quoted by the authoritative writers.

Reflections by Pope John Paul II

Author Title Place of publication Publisher Date
Pope John Paul II Be not afraid : Andre Frossard in conversation with Pope John Paul II London Bodley Head 1984
Pope John Paul II Crossing the Threshold of Hope New York Knopf : Distributed by Random House 2003
Pope John Paul II Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination New York: Doubleday 1996
Pope John Paul II
Translated by Walter Ziemba
Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way London Jonathan Cape 2004

Papal Writings

Most of the papal writings of John Paul II can be found on the Vatican website. Among the more important in this context are the following:
Redemptor Hominis (1979)
Dives in Misericordia (1980)
Dominum et vivficantem (1986)
Redemptionis Donum (1984)
Veritatis Splendor
Vita Consecrata

Scholarly Works of Karol Wojtyła

Author Title Place of publication and Publisher Date
Karol Wojtyla Faith according to St. John of the Cross Eugebe, OR: Wipf and Stock 2009
Karol Wojtyla The Acting Person Dordrecht, Boston, London, D. Reidel Publishing Company 1979
Karol Wojtyla,Translated by Theresa Sandok OSM.
Catholic Thought from Lublin; V 4. edited by Andrew N. Woznicki
Person and Community : Selected Essays New York: P. Lang  1993
Karol Wojtyla Sources of renewal : The Implementation of the Second Vatican Council London Collins, Fount Paperbacks 1980

About the thought and writing of John Paul II

Author Title Place of publication: Publisher Date Notes
Buttiglione, Rocco; Translated by Paolo Guietti and Francesca Murphy Karol Wojtyła, the Thought of the Man Who Became Pope John Paul II Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 1997 Excellent indepth introduction to the background and thought of Pope John Paul II: essential reading.
Guellec, Ronan, director Jean-Paul II, Pape Personnaliste : La Personne, Don Et Mystère Toulouse: Carmel 2008
Hayes, Michael A. and Gerald O’Collins The Legacy of John Paul II. London: New York 2008
Kupczak, Jaroslaw. Destined for Liberty : The Human Person in the Philosophy of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press 2000
Mannion, Gerard, editor The Vision of John Paul II. Collegeville : Liturgical Press 2008
McDermott, John M The Thought of Pope John Paul II : A Collection of Essays and Studies.. Roma: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana 1993
Ide, Pascal Une Théologie Du Don: Les Occurrences De Gaudium Et Spes, N. 24, §3, Chez Jean-Paul II. Anthropotes 17 2006
Schmitz, Kenneth L. At the Center of the Human Drama : The Philosophical Anthropology of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press 1993
Williams, George Huntston The Mind of John Paul II: Origins in His Thought and Action. New York: Seabury 1981
Williams, Thomas D Who is my Neighbour?. Washington, D.C. Catholic University of America Press 2005
Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering John Paul II & St. Thomas Aquinas. Ann Arbor, MI: Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University 2006

Read more: Theology of Consecrated Life, My ApproachMy contribution and the Abstract of my thesis.

© Mary Stevens July 2018