The Teilhard-Whitehead Project Home  | Main menu


Send an email to
Joshua, Kris and Thayne

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Noosphere Homepage

Integrative Texts

The eGroup archives of messages


An Integration of Teilhardian
and Whiteheadian Thought
(Project under development)

By Joshua ORSAK, Kris ROOSE and Thayne CURRIE

Joshua's Project


What I really want to do is write, at some time in the future, a book that seamlessly combines Teilhardian and Whiteheadian thought. I have always maintained (to the chagrin of some other process thinkers I know) that a true Process Christology can only be produced by combining effectively and without the "choppiness" of other theologians who have thought in this direction, the philosophies of Whiteheadian and Teilhardian thinkers. I want to come at this from all angles, showing that combining both thoughts is more biblical and more theologically and philosophically (and Christologically) complete.

I have for so long wanted to create a true synthesis of Whitehead and Teilhard, all the rest of the thinkers who have done so have really never succeeded in creating a seamless theorum that truly combines both men's views. The thought fills me with the inspiration of the Spirit, it brings the Pentecostal out in me, For instance Bernard Lee's Becoming of the Church presents Whiteheadian thought, then a Whiteheadian Christology, then Teilhardian thought and then a Teilhardian Christology, then it presents Catholic ethics and sacraments shifting from one man's view and then the other to support his ideas, he does point out the many similarities of the two men's philosophies, but he never goes that extra step to show how the one truly completes the other, that is what I mean when I write "seamless", I'm talking about not a Whiteheadian AND Teilhardian view, but a literal Whiteheadian+Teilhardian view. [8/9/02]

[Joshua 26.09.02:]
I thought I would make a rough outline of how the project would "go down" over the coming months.

Stage 1: Outline Chapters
We will work on each chapter, one by one, hopefully getting input, and adding and revising, etc. Chapter 2 will be coming when I get my book back and when we decide what kind of information to include, it should be a quick outline of each man's life, acheievements, influences, and philosophy. Hopefully we will be getting more input from Thayne and the group, but if not we can do this ourselves, I think we are already showing a great rapport and ability to work together. I hope when we are done with the outlines we will have 50-70 pgs main body and at least 20 extra notes. At this point we should definitely copyright via registered mail.

Stage 2: Revision and Rewriting
After we get enough notes on each chapter, we can write some, send back, revise, rewrite, write some more, until we feel the book is what it can be. I hope to end up with between 125-200 pgs. Again we will copyright periodically via registered mail, and keep this off the net from the beginning of revision on. 

Stage 3: Editing
After we have a good body, we should edit ourselves and get several outside sources to look over our work, trusted people. When we think its as good as it can be, and we have a general consensus of its value in content and structure.

Stage 4: Publishing
At this point we can try to find a publisher/e publisher and get it properly copyrighted, then we can find a way to share it with the group in completed form.

The Projected Chapters

Here is a general # of pages I would like to end up with for each chapter
Chapter 1: The New Methodology (10-12 pgs)
Chapter 2: Two Modern Sages (Whitehead and Teilhard) (5-8 pgs)
Chapter 3: The Meaning "of Process" (10-15 pgs)
Chapter 4: "New Process" (Synthesizing Whitehead and Teilhard) (15-20 pgs)
Chapter 5: The Changing World (8-10 pgs)
Chapter 6: God in Process (15-20 pgs)
Chapter 7: The Relatedness of God and The World (10-12 pgs)
Chapter 8: The Evolution of The Consciousness (15-18 pgs)
Chapter 9: A Full Process View of The Church as The Body of Christ (10-12 pgs)
Chapter 10: Completing Process Ethics (15-20 pgs)
Chapter 11: The Future of Man: A Synthesis of The Eschatologies of Whitehead 
and Teilhard (15-20 pgs)
Chapter 12: Some Final Thoughts (5-10 pgs)

Chapter 1: An Appropriate Scientific Methodology

Chapter 2: Two Modern Sages (Whitehead and Teilhard)

On all the chapters there is a pretty wide but pretty specific point that we can discuss, for instance "Two Modern Sages", we can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both men. Chapter 2 can cover the methodologies of the men themselves [Joshua, 8/9/02]

Chapter 3: The Meaning of "Process"

Chapter 4: Towards an Integrated Process Philosophy

Chapter 5: The Changing World

Chapter 9: A Complete Process View (Teilhardian/Whiteheadian Synthesis) of The Church as The Body of Christ 

On "The Body of Christ", the whole title is pedestrian but we can both look at the Church as the Body of Christ from the point of view of the thought of Teilhard and Whitehead, and discuss how they can be brought together.  [Joshua, 8/9/02]

On our Working Style

- I could offer unlimited space on my site(s) to put our progress on. The access could be restricted more or less to the members of our list and perhaps some related lists. Feedback at that stage could be very uselful, although experience learns that such a feedback is never massive... I made already a first little page, just to give you the taste... [Kris 8/9/02]

This looks superior, I love it, anyone in the group should be able to help if they want to and are able. I am linking this direction already. [Joshua, 8/9/02]
- From time to time we can post crucial discussions on the Teilhard list.[Kris 8/9/02]
Good idea, kind of goes with the last point. [Joshua, 8/9/02]

If our Teilhard eGroup is expected to follow the project and comment upon and/or contribute to it, I would suggest that the original draft continue to remain freedly available to this eGroup, before it is marketed on the Net. (Note that during our first year on the Net, our Teilhard eGroup made significant editorial comments to an essay on Teilhard de Chardin in preparation by Joseph Milne . For the online archives of that project, check out our online message archives here . My point is that the draft was made freely available to this group as so many of our group members are currently doing with their extensive writings, to whit: Beatrix, Brian C., Joshua, Thayne, to name just a few. [Janice 9/9/02]

On Collaborators

- I think that some other contributors, perhaps less intensive, could be very useful: Brian Cowan for the Teilhard quotes, and Brian Rothery for the Whitehead sources and comments.[Kris 8/9/02]

This sounds great, I have a friend well-versed in Whitehead, Jason Glen Pullen, who will probably be able to help me a lot on Whitehead quotes and information, he is a walking Whiteheadian encyclopedia, if there is such a thing. [Joshua 8/9/02]]

I have been following, with interest, the beginnings of the integrative study regarding Whitehead and Teilhard, located at the Noosphere Networks website. As you suggest, Kris, I might be able to help a little in this project by trying to track down references in Teilhard's writings should the need for such arise. And, I course, I'll be happy to offer what assistance I can in this regard. I will not make any direct written contributions to the project, but some of what I say, may, on occasion, prove incidentally useful, and if so, such material can certainly be utilized to further the undertaking, an undertaking which I look forward to seeing unfold to the benefit of our e-group. [Brian Cowan 9/9/02]

On inspiring sources and examples

- You should read -if you didn't up to now- Wildier's "The Theologian and his Universe: Theology and Cosmology from the Middle Ages to the Present", translated into English (Seabury Press ISBN 0.816.4053.36). Wildiers, the Flemish philospher and publisher of many of Teilhard's works in Europe, was a great admirer of Whitehead -in fact, as a young student I first heard about Whitehead during a conference by Wildiers. In his major work he dedicates his last chapter to Whitehead and Process Thought (it's available second hand at [Kris 8/9/02]

I will, as soon as I get the money and opportunity. [Joshua, 8/9/02]
On the publication

- What do you think of the idea to put the final version of this book on internet as a shareware-book: everyone can download it, and is asked to pay a modal sum (e.g. 5 dollar / euro) directly to us. Look at Larry Hagerty's site [Kris 8/9/02]

I think you were trying to write "modest sum", and yes that's great, we can discuss the money later, eventually I could get my seminary to help us self-publish maybe. [Joshua, 8/9/02]

General Correspondence

The Invitation [Joshua 7/9/02]

I am a writer, I have had a couple of papers and several poems published, and I have an unpublished and unfinished book (261 pgs, but needs a lot of work still) on Chinese Philosophy, I hope to start a novel that is a fictionalized version of Elijah's life soon. But what I really want to do is write a book that seamlessly combines Teilhardian and Whiteheadian thought at some time in the future. I have always maintained (to the chagrin of some other process thinkers I know) that a true Process Christology can only be produced by combining effectively and without the "choppiness" of other theologians who have thought in this direction, the philosophies of Whiteheadian and Teilhardian thinkers. I know quite a bit about the former, but my Teilhardian knowledge is, unfortunately, still quite limited. I NEED a co-author, someone who can think as a Whiteheadian but is really a Teilhardian, I need a collaborator, it would take a lot of IM and e-mails, a lot of time, and a lot of writing. If anyone is interested, please let me know, and perhaps we can set a date to start brainstorming. I want to come at this from all angles, showing how combining both thoughts is more biblical and more theologically and philosophically (and Christologically) complete.


The responses for collaboration

[Kris 7/9/02]

I think I "can think as a Whiteheadian but am really a Teilhardian", and should like to evaluate co-authorship with you. I have two problems: someone should smooth up my English, and all depends what you mean by "a lot of time". But I really like to consider your proposal --if you agree, of course.

[Thayne 8/9/02]

I would be very interested in this project.  In terms of "thinking like a Whiteheadian" I think I can manage even though I've only encountered him in the past 5 months.  Many of Whitehead's ideas about God, like the primordial and consequent natures of God, are implicitly found in Teilhard, though Teilhard for example emphasizes these two natures in terms appropriate for a Christological study (such as I described on the "Is Teilhard's God a God of Process" thread).  I have Teilhard's book that encapsules most of his theological ideas, "Christianity and Evolution" (which is an absolute gem by the way), as well as John Haught's "God after Darwin", both of which influence my christological ideas significantly.  If the discussion ever veers toward more directly metaphysical/phenomenological ideas Teilhard has concerning evolution and God's place in it, "The Phenomenon of Man" is a good resource. I have dozens of pages of notes to be used for a study guide on TPOM about 98% complete.  It's basically just sittin. Anyway, time would not permit me to take this on if it weren't for the fact that I have so much stuff "canned" already, so it should be possible for me. 
Let me know,

[Joshua's reply, 7/9/02]

Seeing your interest, I am so excited about getting started, I have some  time in the next two weeks, so I thought I would schedule our corresponance to begin next week, if you can schedule some time, I figure we can Instant-Message for an hour or two and begin brainstorming.

Advices and general comments

Startled, gasping, might be words to describe my initial reaction to your somewhat audacious project, and the speed with which it has begun. As a hardened published book author and now a small publisher, may I offer some advice? The first - indeed paramount - is that this project, which could be truly Teilhardian and capture attention, could also fall flat because of a combination of lack of control and lack of consideration from some contributors. Co-authorship often means one writer doing all the hard work, and a few trying to impose themselves. You may have to agree that one main writer is also the decision maker and main editor.
On more general points. You may have to take a hard line against any author or potential contributor who offers a 'superior' approach to knowledge - there is no easy way to say this - who appears to believe that he/she 'knows everything'.
It's very exciting, so it would be a great pity if it collapsed because of known human organizational weaknesses. Does one of the original authors have project management experience - Kris perhaps? [Brian Rothery 9/9/02]

Thanks for the good advise. I organize courses in project management since 1978... :-). I have, as Joshua has I presume, some experience in publishing books. I have, of course, not unlimited lots of time available. But I think in life this is often the case with "doers".
For me it is not only an exciting intellectual challenge. It is also an experiment with integrative cooperation, something noosphere-like, as Janice suggested...
Btw, I suppose we may perhaps expect from you, as our work makes progress, some hints and documentation?
I condider Josh as the primary author. We help him by all the means we have at our disposal. [KR 9/9/02]
I would add these comments
1. Note that this is called "Joshua's project". I'm assuming that it is to remain such, with him being the primary author and Kris and Thayne collaborators. I would therefore suggest a different thread title if becomes a group project. I personally would like to discover more about Joshua's original conception of the project before it gets "redirected" in an effort to reach wider audiences,  yet I do understand the importance of such considerations. Teilhard too chose to write "The Phenomenon of Man" without reference to Christology (until the Epilogue) because he too wished to reach the widest possible readership. However, the underlying Christology is evident to those who've read his letters and other writings, and who choose to see it  :-).
2. Note that this eGroup was originally the outgrowth of Maria Luiza Glycerio's finding me on the Net and asking me to help her with the English version of her original Teilhard article "Tout ce qui monte, converge" (originally in Portuguese and French) and Website  and English version . Though I did extensive work on the English version, she retained full authorship. When she asked to collaborate on the second multilingual article "Is Noogenesis Progressing", the project took on a mind of it own and became a true collaboration with both of us retaining full rights of joint authorship. During that period the Christology aspect underlying Teilhard's work became increasingly evident to Maria Luiza, who had been a disillusioned, non-practicing Catholic up to that point. Subsequently, as I've already indicated to this group, having no Bible on hand at home during her illness before her sudden death she had been avidly reading the Bible online at the Bible Gateway multilingual site online that I'd told her about. She had expressed having a deep spiritual rebirth in one of her last personal messages to me just a few weeks before her death. [Janice 9/9/02]

First posted at 8/9/02