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Pascal's Pensees Paperback – August 8, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456496859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456496852
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I've been working my way through this book for the past 30 years.
Donna Anastasi
You have fought the good fight and will have become a charitable and sincere friend.
Meggy
This book is a collection of wonderful pensees or thoughts of Blaise Pascal.
Annetta Nesler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Van Wagoner VINE VOICE on February 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since this is a Kindle freebie, it is hard to have too high of expectations, but this really is a very basic edition. There are no hyperlinks in the table of contents or to end notes. The good new is that the text was transferred without any obvious errors.

This is taken from the 1958 edition published as a Dutton paperback. It does include an excellent introduction to Pascal and this book by T. S. Eliot.

Pascal is most famous as a scientist, but as with many famous scientists of that era, he was deeply religious and was a defender of his faith. This book was his attempt at a Christian apologetic. He has two main objects, to prove that man is nothing without God, and also to prove by the scriptures that Jesus is the redeemer of mankind.

This was not a finished work, but is mainly his notes that were compiled after his death. As a result, sometimes it reads a little disjointed with some incomplete thoughts and some jumping around.

Overall, he had some profound thoughts mixed with things I would consider trivial. He had obvious Catholic biases (he was French), and spent some time defending Catholic dogmas like transubstantiation. I found this to be an interesting work, but nothing that I would want to re-read for its great wisdom.

I recommend to those that want to read this work to consider another edition that has hyperlinks. In a work like this, I find the end notes to be useful (this edition did have useful end notes, but they were hard to get to).
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Meggy on May 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Atheists sometime do, but purely out of context. Christians frequently. This brilliant Mathematician who invented the calculator and barometer and who made significant contributions to geometry by age 13 was a devout Christian. The Penses are thoughts in isolation. I particularly liked his exposition of the Old Testament types. He understood very well the foreshadowing of the Messiah and properly referred to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he revered and understood the Jews as God's chosen people. On other topics, his philosophical dislike of Montaigne and Rousseau. Of course the very brilliant Pascal's Wager which every atheist must consider:

Pascal's wager:

Man: Christians profess a religion for which they cannot give a reason and even declare that any attempt to do so would be foolishness.

Pascal. CERTAINLY, EVEN THOUGH LACKING IN PROOFS , THEY ARE NOT LACKING IN SENSE.

Man: What do you mean?
Since God is infinitely incomprehensible. Then understanding him by means of reason is a contradiction in terms.
Is it not because our reason is limited that we should have a limited idea of God?

God is, or he is not.
Reason can decide nothing here. Except to admit there is an infinity of things beyond understanding.
Are you not a skeptic? because skeptics know man has a deep need for certitude,
And a man like you wouldn't be satisfied with less,
Nor dogmatic, because we all know that life is uncertain and in constant flux.
Where does that leave us?
God is or He is not.
To which side shall you incline?
Since this game could be played forever without outcome, you must wager.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donna Anastasi on February 17, 2011
Pascal's Pensées is that one book I'd want if stranded on a desert island. It has page after page of short wisdoms each that you could contemplate for days, e.g., within each man is a God-shaped void. I've been working my way through this book for the past 30 years.

This review is included on the new listmania Christian-themed read overs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gary on June 7, 2012
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Great read of an historical apologist who lived what he taught. A must for those who are serious about the Christian faith.

Gary W.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A classic of philosophy. For those who look at life as more or less probable, here is the work of a great mathematician who understood gambling, investments and risk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Mifflin on June 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just a quick update on this kindle version -- it now has an active table of contents, as well as links to the notes. Great free version!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Sid Vogel on June 17, 2014
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I won't say anymore than the fact that Pascal was a genius, a mathematician, and statetician who reasoned he way to a firm belief in God and Christ. He leaves us with much of his thinking on the subject, and has enriched us with his "thoughts". Christian or atheist, you should read and know Pascal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clay Garner on August 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This edition now has active table of contents and hyperlinks to footnotes. Worked fine for me.

Enjoyed the intro by TS Elliott. Explains that Pascal grew up working to understand the way things work, like Maxwell. Comments on the battle Pascal is fighting in his writing with Montaigne. Montaigne is the doubter in Everyman, even Pascal. The mathematical genius unites with the passionate believer to create a work 'that belongs to the history of humanity'. As he notes, 'it must be remembered that he counts as one of the greatest physicists and mathematicians of all time'.

Pascal's writing sounds current to the modern ear, since the scientific world that was planted then is now in full bloom. He is writing to his contemporaries, especially the devotees of scientific rationalism. It helps to place him in his context. Descartes and Galileo are alive, Newton is born when Pascal is 20. The amazing power of mathematical science is sweeping the intellectual world. Pascal is a mathematical genius from childhood. He grows up in this fascinating new world and is a player. Young, smart, friends with the leading lights of France, theatre, parties, rich, finding his place with the prominent mathematicians of Europe, life is good.

His sister becomes a nun. More, she converts to Jansenism, a Calvinistic form of Catholicism. Strict, moral, serious, disciplined and studious. She attempts to convert him. He listens and is moved, but not very far. He becomes sick. A doctor spends time treating him. He is a Jansenist. More listening. One day he experiences a mental firestorm. He dedicates himself without reservation to the Christian God.

His memory and breadth of reading is prodigious. He was believed to have memorized the Bible.
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