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Download The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man Audiobook, by Amir D. Aczel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (253 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amir D. Aczel Narrator: Barrett Whitener Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781400174911
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In December 1929, in a cave near Peking, a group of anthropologists and archaeologists that included a young French Jesuit priest named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin uncovered a prehuman skull. The find quickly became known around the world as Peking Man and was acclaimed as the missing link between erect hunting apes and our Cro-Magnon ancestors. It also became a provocative piece of evidence in the roiling debate over creationism versus evolution. For Teilhard, both a scientist and a man of God, the discovery also exposed a deeply personal conflict between the new science and his faith. He was commanded by his superiors to deny all scientific evidence that went against biblical teachings, and his writing and lectures were censored by the Vatican. But his curiosity and desire to find connections between scientific and spiritual truth kept him investigating man's origins. His inner struggle and, in turn, his public rebuke by the Catholic Church personified one of the central debates of our time: How to reconcile an individual's commitment to science and his commitment to his faith. In The Jesuit and the Skull, bestselling author Amir D. Aczel vividly recounts the discovery of Peking Man, its repercussions, and how Teilhard de Chardin's scientific work helped to open the eyes of the world to new theories of humanity's origins that alarmed the traditionalists within the Church. A deft mix of narrative history and a poignant personal story, The Jesuit and the Skull brings fresh insight to a debate that still rages today. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • By making the discovery of evolution and its verifying evidence into a fun story, both author and narrator lighten education with entertainment. AudioFile
  • “[A] superb story.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “[Aczel] writes elegantly and accessibly about the history of science…An important work of historical excavation.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Exiled from France, forbidden to publish on evolution, denied prestigious academic appointments, Teilhard suffered mightily for his conviction. Aczel…is such a good storyteller, that I was caught up in the scientific discovery and taken by the personal anguish of this remarkable priest.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “A remarkable subject. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1956) succeeded in melding his life as a Jesuit priest and as a scientist at a time when the Catholic Church denied that such a thing was either possible or desirable.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Sakievich | 1/28/2014

    " An interesting story, but I can't help but feel that there's more to the story than the author presents. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee | 1/26/2014

    " I enjoyed this book very much. In addition to the fact that it is a great read the Author was very helpful in assisting our office with contact information for several individual that might help our office--in the course of my work we were involved in trying to locate a map of Camp Holcomb in China as one of the last places on earth where the Peking Man's remains were know to be in the protection of the US Marines on the eve of America's entrance into WWII. The story follows the last known events before the disappearance of the fossils. A fascinating story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Albert | 1/20/2014

    " As one who is trying to show others that there is no conflict between religion and science, I have always been interested in learning more about Tielhard de Chardin -- a Jesuit priest who has gone farther than anyone in addressing this issue. The book not only fulfilled this interest, but also reviewed the development of our awareness of the evolution of the human species (with more recent updates). This is a definite must-read for everyone who is interested in these issues. I found the intriguing story about the still-missing fossils of Peking Man particularly fascinating. It was also a moving portrayal of Tielhard, the human being behind the legend, and has inspired me to read more about him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charles Pearce | 12/21/2013

    " First half a review of scientific evidence for evolution. A little about Teilhard and Peking man. A lot about Lucile and the censorship by the church of his written musings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alethea | 11/21/2013

    " If I could give this book another half-star I would... it's the intriguing biography of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a real French Jesuit priest and scientist who has no problem reconciling his love of God with the theory of evolution, although everyone else in the world seems to have a major problem with it--and seems bent on ruining his life, just because. At times sublime, at times utterly infuriating (especially if you're a dissenting Catholic who is baffled by arguments that global warming and evolution are just a bunch of fakery cooked up by this weird cult called Science). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lara | 11/16/2013

    " Very educational-I had no idea the role Teilhard played in the Peking Man discovery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 10/22/2013

    " Just started this last night and am finding it hard to put down - really fascinating stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 7/17/2013

    " great book. a man's interesting way of looking at the world as a scientist and a monk. his religious and scientific views enriched one another. unfortunately, he was not appreciated in his time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan Elizabeth | 4/21/2013

    " Fasintating history of science. Thanks Kat for lending me this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 3/2/2013

    " I thought this was a very well written book that nearly everyone could understand "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chuck | 3/1/2013

    " awesome book. i want to read more about teilhard now. a very fascinating man and an amazing story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clay | 12/28/2012

    " If you are at all interested in the the fossil history of hominids or the conflict between science and religion, this is a must read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bubb | 7/19/2012

    " A textbook on Anthropology disguised as a biography. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 3/24/2012

    " How a Jesuit priest followed his heart in search of early man and kept his faith. Wonderful book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dad | 2/5/2012

    " about Teilhard de Chardin, the discovery of the Peking Man and how the Catholic Church tried to make him renounce his discovery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Reneka | 1/30/2011

    " Incredibly interesting subject matter, not incredibly well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frank | 6/20/2010

    " An interesting though biased look at prehistoric cave art. The author does a brief overview of theories of what cave art represents while hawking his own favorite theory that the art is all about the duality of sexes. "

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About the Author
Author Amir D. AczelAmir D. Aczel is the author of many research articles on mathematics, two textbooks, and nine nonfiction books, including the international bestseller Fermat's Last Theorem, which was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Aczel has appeared on over thirty television programs, including nationwide appearances on CNN, CNBC, and Nightline, and on over a hundred radio programs, including NPR's Weekend Edition and Morning Edition. Aczel is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
About the Narrator

Barrett Whitener has been narrating audiobooks since 1992. His recordings have won several awards, including the prestigious Audie and seven Earphones Awards. AudioFile magazine has named him one of the Best Voices of the Century. He lives in Washington, DC.