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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 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?

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin exploded on the scene in the 1960s with the posthumous publication of his books, The Human Phenomenon and The Divine Milieu, among others. And while Teilhard’s ideas are enjoying a new ascendancy, 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 Pierre 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 also offers something to the 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 beings, 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.

“It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.  We are collaborators in creation.”

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.

What is the status of the Project?

Principal videography began in the summer of 2016, in Auvergne, France, where Teilhard was born and grew up, followed by filming in 2017 in multiple locations in China where Teilhard lived and worked. Shooting followed in 2018 in Hastings, England; Paris; and Verdun (where he served in WWI). All location trips included extensive interviews with local experts. Final shooting in New York City was completed in 2022, along with additional interviews. Post-production is nearing completion. The website is already operational, and as it grows will ensure that the project will continue beyond the broadcast into a robust public engagement process.

The educational follow-through of the project has also taken off, even before the documentary is completed. Georgetown University hosted a special seminar for the Teilhard de Chardin Project in April, 2015, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Teilhard’s death. Four top scholars had a lively discussion before a standing-room-only crowd about the relevance of Teilhard today, and a dramatic reading of Teilhard’s “Mass on the World” followed. Video of the seminar is available on the Georgetown website, and a video of “Mass on the World” can be found on YouTube.

The production pace of the documentary depends on the speed of fundraising which is ongoing.  Contributions can be made by going to the Teilhard Project website.

Who is involved in the Project?

The Project is supported by an Honorary Board of notable individuals that includes a member of the Teilhard de Chardin Family. More than forty scholars are advising the project through a Council of Scholar Advisors. Other partners include notable Institutional Collaborators.

The Evolution of Pierre 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.