The Project

What is The Teilhard de Chardin Project?

The Teilhard de Chardin Project is a 2-hour television biography, TEILHARD: Visionary Scientist, which was nationally released on Maryland Public Television on May 19, 2024, plus a robust website that serves as a center for discussion of Teilhard’s place in science, philosophy, and religion.  Visitors will be able to speak with one another and with scholars from around the world about the vast sweep of Teilhard’s ideas.

The Time is Right

The time is right to introduce Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to a new generation – the man, the paleontologist, the visionary French Jesuit priest, whose relentless effort to reframe his beliefs in the light of evolution led to a paradigm shift in the relationship of science and religion.  His vision has become manifest today through the emergence of the internet, globalization, and today’s transhumanism movement, although he was perhaps overly optimistic in his hopes.  His legacy includes a strong environmental movement, an understanding of the Divine that resonates with science, and multiple movements in cosmic spirituality.  Teilhard de Chardin was cited in Laudato Si! the encyclical of Pope Francis on the environment.

The Story

    • A captivating human story (Indiana Jones meets Galileo) about scientific adventure (discovery of Peking Man), religious repression, and a love story, with a seemingly tragic end
    • Engages a socio-political issue that swept this country in 1925 and has never gone away – evolution v. religious belief – which today shows up in politics, science education v. Creationism or Intelligent Design, and denial of global warming, among other issues.  (Teilhard’s religious suppression in France was concurrent with the Scopes trial in U.S.)
    • It has immense post-broadcast potential for interactive web pursuit of science education, the science-religion debate, environmental philosophy, revolution in religion, evolution of consciousness, and transhumanism, among other thematic strands.
    • It has cross-over between the 18-35 demographic and the 35+ demographic, both through its content and its audience promotion.

Why Now?

One might ask whether, given the rapid change society has experienced since Teilhard’s death 56 years ago, his insights have been rendered obsolete.  On the contrary, they have become all the more relevant.  Science and technology have been transformative in the past 80 years since he was writing, and grow at an exponential rate, revealing incredible new wonders of the universe, from galaxies opened up to us through the Hubble Space Telescope to the detection of sub-microscopic particles of matter, down to the Higgs boson.  The deeper and more expansive our knowledge the more astonishing are the broad outlines of his vision and the more valuable they become in helping us navigate the present-becoming-future.

Teilhard’s riveting life story and expansive evolutionary vision invite fresh perspectives on:

  • the persistent rancorous public debate between science and religion;
  • our responsibility for preserving the planet we inhabit;
  • the role of science in the promotion of human progress.

 Project Supporters

 Reading like a “Who’s Who” in academic, theological, and scientific circles, the fledgling project has already gathered strong support from institutions and scholars.

Film Producer

TEILHARD: Visionary Scientist is a production of Frank Frost Productions, LLC, an award-winning company with a long history of nationally broadcast documentaries on subjects related to human and cultural values.

Visual Style

The story is told blending fresh HD footage with archival footage, evocative live action imagery, and vibrant CGI, interwoven with scholars’ commentary. Audio plays a critical role since the story is told mostly in Teilhard’s own words from his personal journals, and books. Modern day imagery will be acquired in the locations Teilhard lived and worked in France, England, China, and the United States. Embedded in this rich milieu is archival footage from the considerable still and motion picture material available on Teilhard, as well as of contexts in which he lived, especially WWI where he served at the front in 67 battles over 5 years; 1920s Paris; 1930s China; and 1950s New York City.