Pater Erich Wasmann S.J. und die HumanevolutionIn memoriam Pater Rainer Koltermann S.J. (gest. 5. Juli 2009)

Zusammenfassung / Summary

The Jesuit and biologue (specialist of ants) Erich Wasmann dealt in his book “Die moderne Biologie und die Entwicklunstheorie” (1904) and in his Berlin conferences in 1907, dealing with the monist Ernst Haeckel, the problem of evolution. Regarding the evolution of mankind, he defended an open position: he judged that it had not (yet) been proved, but reckoned with the possibility that it could be proved one day, and insisted that there would be no contradiction with Christian revelation. That provoked, in the time of the Modernist crisis, complaints to Rome. The Jesuit General Wernz declared that it would be “theologice certum” that mankind could not descend, not even regarding the body, from animal ancestors. Therefore Wasmann should deal, in future editions, only with the biological questions and omit speculations about the theoretical compatibility of human evolution with the revelation. That had the consequence, that no new edition of the book was ever published.

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