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The Phenomenon of Man Paperback – Jan 1976

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Harper Trade (January 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006090495X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060904951
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #957,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A most extraordinary book, of far-reaching significance for the understanding of man's place in the universe." -- Abraham J. Heschel

"Marks the most significant achievement in synthetic thinking since that of Aquinas." -- Bernard Towers, Blackfriars

About the Author

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin was born in Auvergne, France, in 1881.An ordained member of the Society of Jesus, Pierre Teilhard held positions as professor of geology at the Catholic Institute in Paris, director of the National Geologic Survey of China and director of the National Research Center of France.He lived in China for many years where he played a major role in the discovery of Pekin man. In 1951 he moved to New York where under the auspices of the Wenner-Gren Foundation he was enabled to continue his work until his death in 1955. Le PhÉnomÈne Humain, issued in France in December of that year, was immediately pronounced one of the outstanding publishing events of the century.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TMC on June 24 2000
Format: Paperback
Simply astounding. These are about the only words that I think best describe The Phenomenon of Man. Certainly, this has to be one of the most wildly interesting books that I have ever read. Most of us know and at least vaguely understand evolution, and also theists usually respond defensively that there is no conflict between God and evolution. But rare is the person who seeks to intergrate evolution into God's large-scale, dynamic plan refusing even just to argue for some "Design" in the universe. Teilhard argues that with the onset of animals capable of internal reflection, human beings, evolution takes a turn "inward". The consciousnesss is now what evolves, evolving toward an Omega Point with Teilhard sees as Christ. Certainly in our lives we can see the appeal of this view. Shouldn't our lives be a constant growth, an evolution toward complete oneness with God?
Teilhard is a genius and the best modern example of the intellectual firepower that can come from the Catholic Church and the Jesuits in particular. Although he and the Church didn't always get along (most of his stuff was censored in some way) I think this is due to the fact that Teilhard was so far ahead of his time that the hierarchy really didn't know what to do with him. Surely, 50 or even 20 years from now Teilhard de Chardin will be regarded as one of the most prolific Catholic minds in the last few centuries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Krem on March 11 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the toughest book I have ever read.
Teilhard de Chardin starts with the Universe as primal gas and traces the evolution of "matter and consciousness" to the present day. He charts this development as a vector leading to higher consciousness. Man is only one more stepping stone along this path. What is next? He predicts the development of a "noosphere" existing between the biosphere (the thin, wet, green and flesh layer on the lithosphere) and the atmosphere.
When I read this book, 20 years ago, I thought the noosphere was the development of a collective consciousness and a precursor of mental telepathy. I now believe that the internet and widespread use of wireless communications already fulfills his prophecy.
Despite being a Jesuit (or perhaps because of it), Teilhard de Chardin develops his analysis without relying on the concept of God.
Brilliant and subtle. Not for the faint of heart or the speed reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brant Knight on Jan. 17 2009
Format: Paperback
I customer below me asked someone to give one thing that was valuable about this book. What did this book teach us? That the future is valuable. The future is valuable to such an extent that we cannot even approach comprehension of it. This is due to evolution, even from a creationists point of view. How can one so involved in the Catholic faith give us a superposition on evolution and creation? He did it. Can you not see how value able this is? If you want to get into this book and at the very least understand it read Wilber, Aurobindo, Gebser, HG Wells, and others. To finish off I propose those of you imagine this:

"Think of a time when a collect consciousness includes and goes beyond what we have now to that of the theosphere --A time when objective and subjective reality merge to create an unfathomable experience of qualia and encounter."

That's what this author is pointing to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Chandler TOP 100 REVIEWER on Nov. 12 2000
Format: Paperback
I am not going to argue points as the author can do that for him self. I will say, many people surpassingly arrive at the same conclusions independently of this work. The few negative reviews are because of a disagreements not that this book is negative in any way. Even with all of today's scientific discoveries the truth in his extrapolations still hold up. However I would listen to "Dinosaur in a Haystack : Reflections in Natural History", efore reading Book 2, chapter 2, section 3 "THE TREE OF LIFE".

This is a five star book no matter what side of the argument you are on. Listen to Teilhard de Chardin's words coming from Oskar Werner as Fr. David Telemond in "Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)"
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Format: Paperback
It has been about twenty years since I read the phenomenon of man , a powerfully influential book. A Canadian prime minister of powerful intellect named a key policy initiative after a phrase from Teilhard, "Everything that rises must converge". He was of course right as some of the negative critics manifest. It is obvious that most of them have little to no philosophical training or insight, expecting to read in Chardin, some naive empiricist scientism, which is their particular tunnel. Catholicism has never had a problem with evolution as distinct from the naively dogmatic evolutionism of so many materialits, an unwarranted and frankly silly assumption. Intelligence is not the accidental byproduct of dust swirls. Try this at home. Take a bag of dust and shake vigorously for eternity. Call us when it starts talking back to you. The synthesis he paints with considerable metaphysical acumen employs the wider and more intelligent intellectual streams of Aristotle and Aquinas' final and formal causes. Electrons follow an ordered pattern that they do not and did not choose. Behavior ordered to ends is a function of intelligence. That is the 'within' of things. Just as we at the observable pinnacle are ordered to ends every second of the day, so is the universe. Penrose at Oxford has shown that such a universe as is ours is so unlikely as to be almost infinitely impossible 10^123 to 1, more precisely in a universe with about only 10^60th electrons and protons. Chance hasn't a chance as an explanation. Teilhard's book is difficult for it is visionary as well as empirically based. When one looks at a computer, there is no sign of the intelligence that formed it using the preexisting order and matter of the universe.Read more ›
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