In Development

 

The time is right to introduce a new generation to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the early 20th-century paleontologist, evolutionist, and visionary Jesuit priest, who never ceased to pursue the ultimate meaning of life while confronting the scientific wonder of an emerging universe.

Teilhard's dramatic personal story invites fresh perspectives on issues of science and religion that continue to create rancorous rifts in our society. Teilhard's unique synthesis of his science and his faith is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when he died in 1955.

What is The Teilhard de Chardin Project?

It is a public education project about the interaction between science and religion, beginning with a 2-hour high-definition television biography, The Evolution of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The program provides a powerful starting point for web-based education outreach on a number of themes of interest to lifetime learners of all ages.

Who is Teilhard de Chardin?

Clerical Indiana Jones

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin exploded on the scene in the 1960s with the posthumous publication of his books, The Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu, among others. And while Teilhard's ideas are enjoying a new ascendancy, (see the recent conference at Santa Clara University, "Teilhard de Chardin for a new Generation") less is known of the man himself. His compelling personal story has cross-over appeal to believers and non-believers alike - an adventurer-paleontologist (a sort of clerical Indiana Jones) and darling of France's scientific salons; an obedient priest whose writings were long suppressed; a first-rate scientist involved in the landmark discovery of "Peking Man"; a man unafraid of love while true to his vow of celibacy; who dies quietly in exile in New York City, before the publication of his books vaults him into world prominence.

What is the Educational Dimension of the Project?

Broadcast of the television program The Evolution of Teilhard de Chardin will launch an extensive outreach program though the internet, social media, colleges, schools, and community programs, on four themes that emerge from the story line: 1.) the science v religion debate, 2.) evolutionary implications for spirituality, 3.) responsibility to the earth, and 4.) the future of the human species. The resulting website will offer:

  • expanded interviews, photos, and other bonus materials
  • internet chats with experts featured in the program
  • educational materials for high schools and colleges, and even elementary school
  • ongoing peer-to-peer discussions on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
  • podcasts downloadable to computers and mobile media
  • links to rich existing resources

A Transformative Project

The Teilhard de Chardin Project can be transformative for theologians, biologists, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, seminary professors, and others seeking to form a new generation of women and men dedicated to unlocking the immense potential that is the human person.

The vision of Teilhard offers something to broad population. It makes us aware of the presence of the Divine in the emergent universe. It helps us recognize our essentially social nature as human being, of the intimate links we share in fact with all creatures with whom we form one family. The implications extend to how we proceed in business, politics, and family life.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

In a world where half the population does not accept the science of evolution, Teilhard provides a way to bridge the gap. He offers a new generation a way to grapple with the future of the cosmos and with eternal questions about our role in it.

Production Plan and Time Frame

The Teilhard de Chardin Project is projected to be a three-year project. Phase one is nearing completion: extensive research, including library and book research, archival searches for photos and films, and discussions with theologians and scientists. Phase two, pre-production, involves visits to key filming locations and resource institutions. A video trailer will be produced to explain the project visually, and major foundations will be contacted.

Filming is scheduled for 2014, with editing complete in 2015, in time for release on the 60th anniversary of Teilhard's death.

The Producers

The Evolution of Teilhard de Chardin is produced by Frank Frost Productions (FFP), an award-winning production company with a long history of nationally broadcast documentaries on subjects related to human and cultural values. For more details on FFP visit other links on this website.

Institutional Supporters

  • The American Teilhard Association
  • Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
  • The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies
  • Center of Concern
  • Church World Service, National Council of Churches
  • Georgetown University
  • Jesuit Conference USA
  • John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
  • Mormon Transhumanist Association
  • University of San Francisco
  • Wenner-Gren Foundation
  • Woodstock Theological Center Library (Teilhard de Chardin Archives)


Honorary Board

  • Marie Bayon de la Tour, Grand-niece of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Secretary General of the Teilhard Family Association
  • George V. Coyne, SJ, Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory, and holder of the McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College
  • Dr. John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University
  • Eugene Cullen Kennedy, Syndicated columnist and author of more than fifty books on psychology, religion, Catholic Church, and the psychology of religion
  • Gregory Maguire, a novelist for adults and children whose books include WICKED and WHAT-THE-DICKENS, is also a critic. He has appeared occasionally on "All Things Considered" and writes now and then for CNN and other venues.
  • Cokie Roberts, Broadcast journalist and author; political commentator for National Public Radio and ABC News, as well as a regular roundtable analyst for This Week With George Stephanopoulos
  • Martin Sheen, Actor, activist, and Teilhard de Chardin enthusiast
  • Krista Tippett,  Broadcaster, journalist, and author. Creator and host of public radio program On Being; author of Speaking of Faith — Why Religion Matters and How to Talk about It.
     

Advisors & Supporters of the Teilhard de Chardin Project

  • Francisco Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Logic and the Philosophy of Science, at University of California, Irvine. Past President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Winner of National Medal of Science (2001), and Templeton Prize (2010)
  • Ken Brooks, Founder and Chairman of the Hastings & District Geological Society, and author of Hastings Then & Now and Geology and Fossils of the Hastings Area
  • James L. Connor, SJ, Jesuit in Residence, Sellinger School of Business, Loyola University Maryland
  • Geri Critchley, Consultant at World Learning/The Experiment in International Living
  • Charles L. Currie, SJ, Former President, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
  • Ilia Delio, OFM, Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center, and author of Christ in Evolution and The Emergent Christ
  • Peter Dodson, professor of anatomy and of paleontology at University of Pennsylvania, author of The Horned Dinosaurs, and President of the Philadelphia Center for Religion and Science
  • Daryl P. Domning, Professor, Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology, College of Medicine, Howard University
  • Kathleen Duffy, SSJ, professor of physics at Chestnut Hill College, and author of The Texture of the Evolutionary Cosmos: Matter and Spirit in Teilhard de Chardin.
  • François Euvé, SJ, Dean of the Faculty of "Centre Sèvres" (Jesuit School of Theology in Paris), and chair of The Teilhard de Chardin Research Center
  • John Farina, Associate professor of religious studies at George Mason University and editor (with James Salmon) of The Legacy of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Relevance for Today
  • Donald Goergen, OP,  Professor Emeritus, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis; author of Fire of Love: Encountering the Holy Spirit, and A Retreat with Teilhard de Chardin, (3 audio CDs)
  • John A. Grim, President, American Teilhard Association, and Co-Director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University.
  • David Grummet, Professor of theology at the University of Cambridge, and author of Teilhard de Chardin: Theology, Humanity and Cosmos.
  • John F. Haught, Professor of theology at Georgetown University, and author of Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life
  • Philip J. Hefner, Professor of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and author of The Promise of Teilhard: the Meaning of the 20th Century in Christian Perspective, and The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, Religion.
  • Tracy Higgins, Friend of Teilhard de Chardin family, and editor of Teilhard's letters
    Brennan R. Hill, professor, Xavier University, and author of 8 Spiritual Heroes (including Teilhard de Chardin)
  • Ursula King, Professor Emeritus, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, and author of Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin
  • Larson, Edward J., Author of Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory; Summer of the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion; and The Creation-Evolution Debate: Historical Perspectives
  • Thierry Meynard, SJ, Teilhard scholar teaching at Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China, and Director of the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies
  • Harold J. Morowitz, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy at George Mason University, and author of The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex
  • John W. O’Malley, S.J., Historian and Professor, Georgetown University, author of What Happened at Vatican II
  • Rick Potts, Paleoanthropologist who is the director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program and curator of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History.  Author of What Does It Mean To Be Human?
  • James Salmon, SJ, Professor of physical chemistry at Loyola University, Maryland, author of Teilhard de Chardin: Creating a Universal Mysticism (4 audio CDs), and co-editor (w. John Farina) of The Legacy of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Relevance for Today
  • Louis Savary, author of Teilhard de Chardin: The Divine Milieu Explained and The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Teilhard de Chardin
  • Nicholas B. Scheetz, Former Manuscripts Librarian, Special Collections, Georgetown University Library
  • Nicole Schmitz-Moormann, Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, editor of Teilhard de Chardin's personal notebooks, and co-editor of the 13-volume collection of Teilhard's scientific works
  • Thomas Smolich, SJ, President, The Jesuit Conference of the United States
  • Marjorie Suchocki, Professor Emerita, Claremont School of Theology, and co-director, Center for Process Studies at Claremont
  • Li Tiangang, Director, Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute, School of Philosophy, Fudan University, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • Peter B. Todd, Former research psychologist at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, Australia, and a member of the Biopsychosocial AIDS Project at the University of California at San Francisco;  author of The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, Vice-President of the American Teilhard Association, and editor (with Thomas Berry) of The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century
  • Robert E. Ulanowicz, Professor of theoretical ecology, University of Florida, and co-author of A Third Window: Natural Life Beyond Newton and Darwin
  • Benoit Vermander, SJ, French Teilhard scholar teaching spirituality and interreligious dialogue at Fudan University in Shanghai, P. R. China
  • Stephen R. White, Professor in the North Carolina State University System; author of many articles contextualizing Teilhard’s thought in global education, including “Teilhardian Thought, Cyberspace and Educational Organization,” Sage Publications, 2013.
  • Hai-lu You, Senior Researcher, Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, P. R. China