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The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Manby Amir D Aczel
Synopses & Reviews
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 pre-human 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 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 and 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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Fermat?s Last Theorem, ?an extraordinary story?( Philadelphia Inquirer) of discovery, evolution, science, and faith.
In 1929, French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a part of a group of scientists that uncovered a skull that became known as Peking Man, a key evolutionary link that left Teilhard torn between science and his ancient faith, and would leave him ostracized by his beloved Catholic Church. His struggle is at the heart of The Jesuit and the Skull, which takes readers across continents and cultures in a fascinating exploration of one of the twentieth century?s most important discoveries, and one of the world?s most provocative pieces of evidence in the roiling debate between creationism and evolution.
Aczel presents the powerful and dramatic story of how French Jesuit priest-scientist Teilhard de Chardins scientific research forced him to confront the eternal struggle between science and faith.
About the Author
Amir D. Aczel is the author of fourteen books, including the international bestseller Fermat's Last Theorem, The Riddle of the Compass, and The Mystery of the Aleph. An internationally known writer of mathematics and science, he is a visiting scholar in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, an affiliate professor at the University Of New Hampshire, a research fellow at Boston University, and a Guggenheim fellow.
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