Thursday, August 18, 2005

Teilhard & Blondel

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Maurice Blondel
Correspondence
Edited by Henri de Lubac, S.J.
Among the forefathers of Vatican II everyone is familiar with the name of Teilhard de Chardin. His work has been celebrated by Christian and non-Christian alike and has achieved worldwide renown. Relatively few are those who know of one of Teilhard's older contemporaries, Maurice Blondel, whose influence on the current renewal of the Church may prove in the long run to be greater and more lasting, and whose encounter with the Teilhardian vision is presented in this book.

These letters - with detailed commentary by Father de Lubac - constitute a precious legacy for Christian thought in an age which has inherited many of their insights. It was Teilhard who first approached Blondel through their mutual friend, Auguste Valensin, and sought a critical evaluation of a speculative effort only just beginning. Blondel was impressed and sympathetic for he found in the young scientist an echo of his own spirit. But of greater value than the expressions of agreement is the careful criticism with Blondel made of Teilhard's work and which anticipated later more common objections to it.

Of this meeting between two of the seminal minds of the twentieth century, the distinguished Blondel scholar, J.M. Somerville, has said: 'Together Blondel and Teilhard created the atmosphere that made Vatican II possible, and they seem destined to carry on and justify its best achievements for many decades to come.'
And the equally eminent Teilhardian, Christopher Moodey adds:

'This is a remarkable exchange of letters between two men, one a scientist, the other a philosopher; both intensely concerned about the relationship of Christ to human achievement. Blondel had a very significant influence upon the development of Teilhard's theological thought and this correspondence constitutes a permanent testimony to that influence. It must be read by anyone interested in the thought of either man.'
Older posts related to this topic are below.

Maurice Blondel

de Lubac's defense of Teilhard

The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin

more on Teilhard

The Heart of Teilhard de Chardin's Spirituality

The Heart of Matter

Grace and the Form of Nature and Culture

Emmanuel Mounier and Personalism (refer to the comments)
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