Theology & Religion

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The Human Phenomenon


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A New Edition and Translation of
Le phénomène humain by Sarah Appleton-Weber, with a Foreword by Brian Swimme

Now in a paperback edition

The Human Phenomenon by the priest, paleontologist, and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is his book of the Earth, a discovery and an epic journey to open the way out for humanity in a time of world conflict and to release the spirit of the Earth. As Virgil led Dante, so Teilhard guides his reader back in space–time to experience the birth of our planet as it emprisons the human future in its globe and motion, then forward, through the emergence of life, the birth of thought and socialization, and the unique mode of human unfolding as humanity covers the whole planet in an entirely new membrane, the Noosphere.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-29-2
Hardback Price: £35.00 / $69.95
Release Date: Sept 1999
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-902210-30-8
Paperback Price: £22.95 / $29.95
Release Date: August 2003
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Brian Swimme
Teilhard's Transforming Thought: Editor-Translator's Introduction
The Human Phenomenon
Author's Note
Prologue: Seeing

Part I Prelife
Chapter I The Stuff of the Universe
1. Elementary Matter
2. Total Matter
3. The Evolution of Matter

Chapter II The Inside of Things
1. Existence
2. The Qualitative Laws of Growth
3. Spiritual Energy

Chapter III The Juvenile Earth
1. The Outside
2. The Inside

Part II Life
Chapter I The Appearance of Life
1. The Step of Life
A. Microorganisms and Megamolecules
B. A Forgotten Era
C.The Cellular Revolution
2. The Initial Appearances of Life
3. The Season of Life

Chapter II The Expansion of Life
1. The Elementary Movements of Life
Corollary. The Ways of Life
2. The Ramifications of the Living Mass
A. The Aggregations of Growth: The Phylum
B. The Unfolding (or Disjunctions) of Maturity: The Verticil
C. The Effects of Distance: The Suppression of Peduncles
3. The Tree of Life
A. The Main Outlines
B. The Dimensions
C. The Evidence

Chapter III Mother Earth (Demeter)
1. Ariadne's Thread
2. The Rise of Consciousness
3. The Time Approaches

Part III Thought
Chapter I The Birth of Thought
1. The Step of Reflection
A. The Elementary Step: Hominization of the Individual
B. The Phyletic Step: Hominization of the Species
C. The Planetary Terrestrial Step: The Noosphere
2. The Original Forms

Chapter II The Deployment of the Noosphere
1. The Ramified Phase of the Prehominids
2. The Fascicle of the Neanderthaloids
3. The Homo sapiens Complex
4. The Neolithic Metamorphosis

5. The Prolongations of the Neolithic and the Rise of the West
Chapter III The Modern Earth
1. The Discovery of Evolution
A. The Perception of Space–time
B. The Envelopment in Duration
C. The Illumination

2. The Problem of Action
A. Modern Disquiet
B. The Requirements of the Future
C. The Dilemma and the Choice

Part IV Superlife
Chapter I The Collective Way Out
1. The Confluence of Thought
A. Forced Coalescence
B. Megasynthesis
2. The Spirit of the Earth
A. Humanity
B. Science
C. Unanimity

Chapter II Beyond the Collective: The Hyperpersonal
1. The Convergence of the Personal and the Omega Point
A. The Personal Universe
B. The Personalizing Universe
2. Love Energy
3. The Attributes of the Omega Point

Chapter III The Ultimate Earth
1. Predictions to Dismiss
2. The Approaches
A. The Organization of Research
B. The Discovery of the Human as Object
C. The Conjunction of Science and Religion
3. The End

Epilogue: The Christian Phenomenon

Summary or Postface: The Essence of the Human Phenomenon

Appendix: Some Comments on the Place and Role of Evil in an Evolving World

Editor-Translator's Appendix

A. The Sphere
B. The Phylum


This book has a magic quality you don’t find in writing in the science world. This translation will in the future be the basic text for any serious study of Teilhard in the English language.
Thomas Berry, co-author of The Universe Story

Sarah Appleton-Weber has gifted English-speaking admirers of Teilhard and his thought with a superb new translation. Readers will find this new translation worth a fresh read. Appleton-Weber’s introduction to the work opens to readers, including Teilhard scholars, the meaning and relevance not only of his vision but also of phrases and words that he used to help bring his vision into focus. Her introduction and copies of key diagrams used by Teilhard are of great value and make this new translation critical: it is of substantial value for communicating the vision of Teilhard.

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