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The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de…

The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search… (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Amir Aczel

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269566,768 (3.56)20
In December 1929, in a cave near Peking, a group of anthropologists and archaeologists that included a young French Jesuit priest named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin uncovered a prehuman skull. The find quickly became known around the world as Peking Man and was acclaimed as the missing link between erect hunting apes and our Cro-Magnon ancestors. It also became a provocative piece of evidence in the roiling debate over creationism versus evolution.For Teilhard, both a scientist and a man of God, the discovery also exposed a deeply personal conflict between the new science and his faith. He was commanded by his superiors to deny all scientific evidence that went against biblical teachings, and his writing and lectures were censored by the Vatican. But his curiosity and desire to find connections between scientific and spiritual truth kept him investigating man's origins. His inner struggle and, in turn, his public rebuke by the Catholic Church personified one of the central debates of our time: How to reconcile an individual's commitment to science and his commitment to his faith.In The Jesuit and the Skull, bestselling author Amir D. Aczel vividly recounts the discovery of Peking Man, its repercussions, and how Teilhard de Chardin's scientific work helped to open the eyes of the world to new theories of humanity's origins that alarmed the traditionalists within the Church. A deft mix of narrative history and a poignant personal story, The Jesuit and the Skull brings fresh insight to a debate that still rages today.… (more)
Title:The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man
Authors:Amir Aczel
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2007), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man by Amir Aczel (2007)


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Showing 5 of 5
As somebody that enjoys reading about history I really enjoyed this book that looks into the history and events around the discovery of the famed "Peking Man" fossils of Homo erectus. Amir does a wonderful job of telling the story of their discovery, and weaving in the tale of the Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I found the story of de Chardin, a Jesuit priest who was not only a man of deep faith, but one of a deep understanding of science - especially that of evolution, to be a very compelling part of this book. I would have liked more information regarding Teilhard, and how the Jesuit order regarded him and fought him, throughout his career. Amir provides some information regarding this relationship, but you are never given the full perspective of the Jesuit order, which would have been a nice counter-point to Teilhard's story. Still, I found this to be a wonderful read and do recommend it to anybody with an interest in history, natural sciences, and religion. ( )
  GeoffHabiger | Jun 13, 2018 |
This book is written more for laypeople than scientists, and that's perfect for me. The author spends a lot of time discussing the history of the search for ancient humans before getting too deep into the story of Teilhard, which provides the reader with a reference base. In all, a quick, pretty easy read that could even teach you something! ( )
  JLSmither | Aug 22, 2013 |
An interesting biography of the world's most famous Jesuit, Pierre Tielhard de Chardin, a man as interested in science as in religion, and deeply involved in some major discoveries, particularly in China. The book veers a bit too close to hagiography, airbrushing over the flaws, and declining to comment at any length on Piltdown Man, preferring just to say that Tielhard was innocent, and Stephen J. Gould was wrong. That may well be, but simply stating it doesn't convince; it's usually considered appropriate to present rational arguments. A lively biography of an interesting man that suffers from too much reverence by his biographer. ( )
1 vote Devil_llama | May 10, 2011 |
When the Jesuits learned of Teilhard's involvement in the discovery of Peking Man, their assault on him, a loyal member of their order, grew stronger and more vitriolic. Every word he wrote or said--publicly or in private--was now suspect and subject to careful examination. From the book...
  SuzanRawlins-Meyer | Feb 17, 2011 |
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was not your average Jesuit. From an early age, he was actively curious about the natural world and the connections between seemingly disparate systems. Amir Aczel here tells the tale of Teilhard’s search for meaning as a paleoanthropologist throughout the world. During his travels, he met with some of the best scientific minds of his day, and helped discover fossils that further aided our understanding of humanity’s beginnings. While he never truly able to completely reconcile his faith with his science, Teilhard inspired others who were having the same struggles. Constantly hounded by his order and his Church, he tried desparately to uphold his beliefs as best he could. A delightful book.

http://lifelongdewey.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/569-the-jesuit-and-the-skull-by-am... ( )
  NielsenGW | Jul 21, 2010 |
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