Friday, May 19, 1995

In the Field with Teilhard de Chardin

by George Barbour

A book about the priest-archeologist.  I was interested in the subject, but I don't feel it's a good book.  First of all, Barbour included several letters from Teilhard in their entirety, but without explaining many of the references (such as the details of geological problems he was working on) or questions he had about friends or plans (which were never answered by Barbour in the text, so it was pointless to include them).  Since there was rarely a context for his comments, I didn't really get a feel of how Teilhard thought and rarely got a sense of what Teilhard's objectives in the field were.

I enjoyed the anecdotes, such as the meaning of Teilhard's Chinese name, or what he said to someone who had undergone a tragedy and was thinking about becoming Catholic.  As self-contained units of information, they really gave insight into Teilhard's world.  It was too bad that there wasn't more commentary like the Epilogue on his thought, and the geological jargon certainly should have been explained for the layman.

two stars

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