BOOK: Theology of Evolution

I am currently reading a book titled “Theology of Evolution” by Ervin Nemesszeghy S.J. & John Russell S.J. It is #6 in the “Theology Today Series”. I picked it and several others in the series up many moons ago. It looks like the copyright date is 1971. It has a Nihil Obstat by Jeremiah J. O’Sullivan, D.D. and Imprimatur by Cornelius Ep. Corcag. & Ross, both in 1972.

In the acknowledgements section it mentions both K. Rahner S.J. and Teilhard De Chardin.

The last section if entitled “The evolutionary vision of Teilhard de Chardin”.

Generally speaking I thought one was suppose to stay away from Rahner & Chardin. Yet it has the Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur.

And speaking of Impramtur, what am I suppose to make of that?

Anyone heard/read this book or heard/read these authors?


I haven’t read the book, but I’ll tell you what my approach would be:

  1. Written in the 1970’s by Jesuits: Shields UP! Proceed slowly and cautiously right there.
  2. The props to Rahner and Teihard de Chardin are further warning of potential “innovative theology.”

At this point, it really depends on who you are and what you are reading for. If you are looking for a layman’s introductory work on the subject, I’d personally look elsewhere (because that is the kind of audience I am).

A more serious scholar than me could likely get a lot of benefit out of it. But I’d want to be sure I had a good spiritual minesweeper before treading that ground.

The Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat was SUPPOSED to be that minesweeper for you, but back in the 70’s it was probably still habitual to seek it regardless of your theological bent. And there were an awful lot of bishops back then of the dissenting variety. (The kind that undermined Humanae Vitae) It isn’t a terribly reliable thing, certainly not a mark of infallibility. Basically back then you can trust it as far as you’d trust THAT bishop. If you don’t know him from Adam, then it isn’t very useful, is it?

For more modern works it has a bit more value since those authors who have contempt for the hierarchy rarely seek it. When you see it on a recent work you at least know the author gives a rat’s patooty what his bishop thinks of his work… IMO, that says something about him/her right there.

Wish I had some alternate suggestions for you.

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