Teilhard's Mysticism: Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution, written by Kathleen S.S.J

Bede Benjamin Bidlack
2016 Journal of Jesuit Studies  
College in Philadelphia, where she demonstrates the interdisciplinary expertise she puts forward in Teilhard's Mysticism by teaching in the sciences, humanities, and courses that integrate both fields. Duffy's argument is that Teilhard's mysticism is unusual because it does not advocate flight to another spiritual world, but instead embraces the material world. Teilhard's particular form of embrace is that of the hard sciences. As such, Teilhard's approach to science and spirituality is a model
more » ... ituality is a model for healing an unnecessary, and even harmful, divide between theology, the humanities, and the sciences. Duffy presents this in four ways: 1) by briefly presenting Teilhard's historical and spiritual biography; 2) by applying Teilhard's insights to some exciting contemporary science; 3) by inserting examples from the arts and social sciences; 4) and by referring to Teilhard's vision of the Divine in the evolutionary process. Duffy gracefully draws the reader into Teilhard's vision of, and response to, God and the world, while at the same time testing this vision against the scientific developments of the sixty years since Teilhard's death. Previous books on Teilhard present how he creatively integrated the scientific discoveries of his time into a unique theology. Duffy moves Teilhard studies forward by engaging Teilhard with today's far more complex understanding of the cosmos. The lucid presentation of contemporary cosmology is one of the strengths of the book. For instance, many readers will have at least heard of strings and dark matter, but Duffy makes these fascinating discoveries accessible for those perhaps unlikely to read a book on astrophysics. Duffy's purpose for integrating these is not to impress the reader with her expertise, but to invite the reader to see the world through Teilhard's eyes. When Teilhard wrote at the beginning of the twentieth century, the theory of evolution was relatively new, just as theories of strings and dark matter are now. Scientists were struggling to understand evolution, and theologians removed themselves from its implications. In order to get a feeling for the excitement and possibility of the new discoveries of Teilhard's day, Duffy draws upon the bewildering theories of contemporary science. She challenges readers to coax these discoveries into their spiritual vision of the world. By so doing, Duffy gives the reader a taste of Teilhard's wonder.
doi:10.1163/22141332-00301005-30 fatcat:v5x6y22bgrcyfe5pyqlmgagtly