This is a fine introduction to the prolific life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the most important theologian of the 20th century. Chardin's theology, banned for years by the Vatican, was at least a hundred years ahead of it's time. A geologist, palenthologist, mystic, spiritual lover, he proposed that Darwin's theories of evolution were not contrary to God's revelation but actually was Revelation. King's book does a good job of detailing Chardin's life, his passions, his pursuits, his beliefs and his science. Though dry and slow at times, the author does help to illuminate the theology of someone who isn't easy to read. Though he lived a rich life, Chardin's writing can be somewhat cold and too scientific at times for the layreader to understand. This book, however, is good solid primer and should be the starting point for anyone interested in a man ahead of his time.
Ursula King's biography of Teihard de Chardin is a fascinating book written in a style which makes a difficult subject seem quite understandable. King weaves the story of Teihard's life around snapshots of his constantly maturing vision of God, the universe and mankind.
Known for his original concepts such as the ongoing evolution of both the universe and mankind towards perfection and the existence of a global network of self-awareness, Teihard was always regarded as a loose canon by the Vatican. Consequently, not much of his work was released during his lifetime except for those relatively few items which were privately published and distributed among a circle of his friends. Since his death in 1955 all his books and essays have been made available to the general public. Teihard nurtured close, supportive relationships with a small number of caring females and left many letters which reveal the importance of these women in his life.
Fr. Chardin is someone who has touched my heart deeply from the time I first heard about him many years ago. I was fascinated by the few things I heard about his philosophy and theology. I also hear a lot of new-age citations of him that sound like foolishness. His only work that I read with understanding was "Mass on the World." This short piece was a window into a beautiful soul. Ms. King's work is a sweeping and breathtaking panorama of his life and thought. Her observations are well documented with quotes and pictures of his life and works. I am particularly impressed with how she honors his fidelity to the church's magisterium and his vows. I read this book in three segments. I had to pause to absorb the magnitude of what I read and experienced. The first part was his early life ending with his service in WWI. I remain astounded at his bravery and his complete experience of all the most horrible battles of that war. I do wish the author had made clearer what bored him...
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