Teilhard de Chardin, original sin, and the Six Propositions

David Grumett, Paul Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1925, the French Jesuit geologist, palaeontologist, and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was removed from his teaching position at the Institut Catholique in Paris. He spent most of the next twenty years in China and his major theological writings were not published during his lifetime. We have uncovered major new archival sources on the investigation of Teilhard by the Jesuit curia and the Holy Office of the Roman Catholic Church. These include the Six Propositions to which he was required to subscribe, which are here published and analysed for the first time, along with his subscription. Associated correspondence, including a letter written by Teilhard to the Jesuit superior general Wlodimir Ledóchowski, enables a fuller understanding of Teilhard’s response to the investigation of him. Moreover, comparison with similar investigations into other theologians in the first half of the 1920s allows an assessment of how the complex power dynamics between the Jesuit curia, the Holy Office, and Pope Pius XI shaped the outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-330
Number of pages28
Issue number2
Early online date16 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018


  • Christianity
  • creation
  • evolution
  • natural evil
  • original sin
  • origin of life
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


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