THE JOURNEY SYMBOL: ITS TRANSFORMATION AND NEW SIGNIFICANCE IN THE MODERN WORLD VIEW, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE WRITINGS OF TEILHARD DE CHARDIN (FRANCE)

MARILYN RUTH NICHOLS, Fordham University

Abstract

This dissertation concerns the role of the journey symbol in the context of the modern evolutionary account of the universe and its relation to the journey symbol as this functions in pre-modern societies. The inquiry follows the general comparative method with an account first of the dominant journey stories of selected traditional societies and then the account of the journey story as this takes place in the modern world. As the study proceeds the role of the journey symbol is further illuminated by an exposition of the Christian dimension of the journey story. This helps to solve the present difficulty within the Christian world of telling its story within the context of an emerging universe.^ The great difference that arises is that traditional journey symbols function in a universe thought of mainly as a fixed spatial context of the journey whereas the modern symbol functions in a universe thought of in dominant time-developmental terms. In this modern context the account of the universe itself on its sequence of transformations becomes the great journey story, the primordial archetypal journey. The story must be narrated, however, in its integral psychic-physical reality, not simply as a random physical process.^ The seminal idea for this work emerged from an article in Crosscurrents, Summer-Fall, 1974, by Thomas Berry entitled "Contemporary Spirituality: The Journey of the Human Community." The main sources comprise accounts of the shamanic journey relying principally on Eliade and the epic journeys of The Ramayana, The Odyssey, the Book of Exodus, and The Divine Comedy. The sources for the modern evolutionary journey include the main scientific accounts of the universe developed from Newton to Lovell and Prigogine. Other sources relative to the journey story and the idea of progress are Bury's The Idea of Progress and Nisbet's History of the Idea of Progress. A major emphasis is given to the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, especially The Phenomenon of Man.^ The conclusion proposes that the journey symbol is particularly relevant and even indispensable for understanding the modern world and that a journey story is implicitly present in any account of the universe as evolutionary process. Another conclusion is that the journey symbol in its evolutionary context is especially effective in any modern understanding of Christianity. A third conclusion is that the journey symbol is one of the main archetypal symbols that enable traditional and modern societies to understand each other.^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

NICHOLS, MARILYN RUTH, "THE JOURNEY SYMBOL: ITS TRANSFORMATION AND NEW SIGNIFICANCE IN THE MODERN WORLD VIEW, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE WRITINGS OF TEILHARD DE CHARDIN (FRANCE)" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8326689.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326689

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