ierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) – Jesuit priest, scientist, paleontologist, theologian – was one of the most influential Christian thinkers of his age.
This new biography by a fellow Jesuit is concerned mostly to tell of his life as a Jesuit. Two aspects of this are covered. First, his often difficult relations with his Jesuit superiors who generally failed to understand the nature of his research and who all too often connivedt with officials in the Roman Curia to condemn his opinions, to restrict his teaching opportunities and to suppress his publications. The other focus of the biography is his relationship with five significant women in his life, to one of whom he entrusted his writings and who was responsible for their release and publication after his death.
The success of his publications, including The Phenomenon of Man, The Divine Milieu and The Hymn of the Universe, led to a huge interest in his thinking that affected and moved theologians and ordinary Catholics for a generation in the middle of the last century. Many of his ideas on the nature of evolution and the problems of original sin continue to influence contemporary Christian theology.
While his influence and popularity may have waned somewhat in recent years, this timely new biography from a fellow Jesuit theologian and philosopher brings fresh light to the life, work, achievements and legacy of a theologian and scientist whose contribution to our understanding and insights into the human condition continues to inform, excite and encourage.
John Cowburn, Author
John Cowburn is Professor of Philosophy and member of the United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne. He is the author of Love, and Personalism & Scholasticism.