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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
(1881 - 1955)
and The Phenomenon of man

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J. was a Jesuit paleontologist who attempted to interpret the findings of modern science in the light of the Christian message. The world has been baffled and amazed by the developments of nuclear energy, space travel, and many other inventions of modern science. People read in Teilhard a message of hope and optimism and his work was perhaps even more influential outside the Catholic Church than within it.

Teilhard's influence and the exceptional response his work has called forth from all quarters, as well as the controversy that it has engendered, are explained principally by his inquiry into the human phenomenon. In Teilhard's eyes the human species constitutes the thrust of cosmic evolution and is the key for understanding the universe. This fact leads him to understand the Christian phenomenon in an evolutionary context, as the ultimate source in God's plan of that human energy needed for evolution's success.

Teilhard has been characterized by Claude Cuénot, in Teilhard de Chardin as one of the great minds of the modern world. Eminent churchmen have invited scholars to elaborate his marvelous and seductive "global vision of the universe wherein matter and spirit, body and soul, nature and super-nature, science and faith find their unity in Christ." Most of his works appeared only after his death. Since the publication of The Phenomenon of Man in 1955 and The Divine Milieu in 1957 he has been the most widely read and discussed Jesuit thinker of the twentieth century.

Comemorative stamp of
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J.

Teilhard insists that only by cultivating our moral sense of obligation to life can we overcome our present fear and anxiety for the human future. For him the fundamental law of morality is thus to liberate that conscious energy that seeks further to unify the world. This is the energy of human love, an impulse toward unity, an impulse of mind and heart that manifests itself particularly in the relish a person has for creative tasks undertaken from a sense of duty.


Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu ( AHSI ) Rome: Institutum Historicum
Bangert, William A History of the Society of Jesus. St. Louis: St. Louis Institute, 1972uis, 1810
Gillispie, Charles. C. ed., Dictionary of Scientific biography. 16 vols. New York. Charles Scribner and Sons, 1970
Sommervogel, Carolus Bibliothèque de la compagnie de Jésus. 12 volumes. Bruxelles: Société Belge de Libraire, 1890-1960
{Two entries are found in Sommervogel; an example is the following:
Ezechielis explicatio (Rome, 1596-1604)}

Adventures of Some Early Jesuit Scientists

José de Acosta, S.J. - 1600: Pioneer of the Geophysical Sciences
François De Aguilon, S.J. - 1617: and his Six books on Optics
Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J. - 1787: and his atomic theory
Christopher Clavius, S.J. - 1612: and his Gregorian Calendar
Honoré Fabri, S.J. - 1688: and his post-calculus geometry
Francesco M. Grimaldi, S.J. - 1663: and his diffraction of light
Paul Guldin, S.J. - 1643: applications of Guldin's Rule
Maximilian Hell, S.J. - 1792: and his Mesmerizing encounters
Athanasius Kircher, S.J. - 1680: The Master of a Hundred Arts
Francesco Lana-Terzi, S.J. - 1687: The Father of Aeronautics
Francis Line, S.J. - 1654: the hunted and elusive clock maker
Juan Molina, S.J. - 1829: The First Scientist of Chile
Jerôme Nadal, S.J. -1580: perspective art and composition of place
Ignace Pardies, S.J. - 1673: and his influence on Newton
Andrea Pozzo, S.J. - 1709: and his perspective geometry
Vincent Riccati, S.J. - 1775: and his hyperbolic functions
Matteo Ricci, S.J. - 1610: who brought scientific innovations to China
John Baptist Riccioli, S.J. - 167I: and his long-lived selenograph
Girolamo Saccheri, S.J. - 1733: and his solution to Euclid's blemish
Theorems of Saccheri, S.J. - 1733: and his non Euclidean Geometry
Christopher Scheiner, S.J. - 1650: sunspots and his equatorial mount
Gaspar Schott, S.J. - 1666: and the experiment at Magdeburg
Angelo Secchi, S.J. - 1878: the Father of Astrophysics
Joseph Stepling, S.J. - 1650: symbolic logic and his research academy
André Tacquet, S.J. - 1660: and his treatment of infinitesimals
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J. - 1955: and The Phenomenon of man
Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. - 1688: an influential Jesuit scientist in China
Juan Bautista Villalpando, S.J. - 1608: and his version of Solomon's Temple
Gregory Saint Vincent, S.J. - 1667: and his polar coordinates
Nicolas Zucchi, S.J. - 1670: the renowned telescope maker

Influence of Some Early Jesuit Scientists

The 35 lunar craters named to honor Jesuit Scientists: their location and description
Post-Pombal Portugal opinion of Pre-Pombal Jesuit Scientists: a recent conference
Seismology, The Jesuit Science. a Jesuit history of geophysics

Another menu of Jesuit Interest

Jesuit history, tradition and spirituality

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