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Pensées - Enhanced Version [Kindle Edition]

Blaise Pascal
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Pensées is simply the compelling "Thoughts" of mathematician, physicist, and religious thinker Blaise Pascal. Originally intending to publish a book defending Christianity, Pascal died before he could complete it. The thoughts and ideas for his book were collected and complied, posthumously, and then published as the Pensées. Pascal's thoughts are as powerful as they are comprehensive. He discusses with great wonder and beauty the human condition, the incarnation, God, the meaning of life, revelation, and the paradoxes of Christianity. He passionately argues for the Christian faith, using both argumentation and his famous "Wager." His ideas and arguments are sometimes developed and intricate, at other times, abrupt and mysterious. Consequently, the Pensées is a startling and powerful book--with each successive read, one discovers new profound insights. Anyone curious about the Christian faith, or simply looking for an impassioned defense of it, should look no further than Pascal's Pensées.

Tim Perrine
CCEL Staff Writer

This edition features an artistic cover, a new promotional introduction, an index of scripture references, and links for scripture references to the appropriate passages.

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

About the Author

Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont in 1623, the son of a government official. During his short life he left his mark on mathematics, physics, religious controversy and literature. A convert to Jansenism, he engaged with gusto in a controversy with the Jesuits, which gave rise to his Lettres Provinciales on which, with the Pensées, his literary fame chiefly rests. A remarkable stylist, he is regarded by many as the greatest of French prose artists. He died, after a long illness, in 1662.
Dr. A.J. Krailsheimer was born in 1921 and was Tutor in French at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1957 until his retirement in 1988. His publications are Studies in Self-Interest (1963), Rabelais and the Franciscans (1965), Three Conteurs of the Sixteenth Century (1966), Rabelais (1967), A. J. de Rancé, Abbot of La Trappe (1974), Pascal (1980), Conversion (1980), Letters of A. J. de Rancé (1984), Rancé and the Trappist Legacy (1985) and Correspondance de Rancé (1993). He has also translated Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet and Salammbo and Pascal’s The Provincial Letters for the Penguin Classics.
Dr. A.J. Krailsheimer was born in 1921 and was Tutor in French at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1957 until his retirement in 1988. His publications are Studies in Self-Interest (1963), Rabelais and the Franciscans (1965), Three Conteurs of the Sixteenth Century (1966), Rabelais (1967), A. J. de Rancé, Abbot of La Trappe (1974), Pascal (1980), Conversion (1980), Letters of A. J. de Rancé (1984), Rancé and the Trappist Legacy (1985) and Correspondance de Rancé (1993). He has also translated Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet and Salammbo and Pascal’s The Provincial Letters for the Penguin Classics.

Product Details

  • File Size: 433 KB
  • Print Length: 359 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Christian Classics Ethereal Library; 1.1 edition (July 14, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002HMD1O6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,668 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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143 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Pascal's Pensees. July 11, 2000
I always thought of Pascal as a great scientist, but as a somewhat dated Christian apologist. The general treatment of Pascal by both science and humanities is at best an unreflective nod to the importance of his scientific discoveries and a momentary and uncomfortable glance at his `other' writings.
The lack of serious consideration given to Pascal's `other' writings by philosophy and theology departments and their absence from science curriculums is indicative of major bias and ignorance. Why?
Pascal's science is embarassing to defenders of prevalent Darwinian atheistic science because of his zeal for the Christian faith. Pascal made some important discoveries but he "abandoned science for religion" and for that reason is tagged as an historical anachronism - he like many of the scientists of the 17th century were heavily tainted with `folk belief' and superstitions.
Pascal's Science and Faith is embarassing to those philosophers and theologians that cannot reconcile the two aspects of human Pensees - thoughts. They like to think of Pascal as an early `existentialist' like Kierkegaard who made a `leap' of faith against the atheistic dogmas of material science; but Pascal did not support their radical dichotomy of science versus faith.
Shunned on both sides for different reasons (for centuries!), Pascal is finally becoming more and more appreciated as someone who was `between' faith and science; a position becoming more fashionable.
All you have to do is read `The Pensees' to quickly see it as one of the most important, beautiful and penetrating books ever written. The Pensees (`Thoughts') are a long series of fragments on the the human situation, Jesus Christ, God, revelation, Infinity and finitude.
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pascal is hard to pigeonhole February 26, 2003
This book, representing Pascal's 'pensees', or thoughts, contains many provocative views that have managed to arouse critics from many different perspectives. And while there are several strains of Pascal's thought that I considerably dissent from, it can hardly be denied that in many ways, Pascal's insights into human character as it relates to the divine are not easily dismissed, at least intellectually.
Because this work is a collection of thoughts rather than a systematic presentation, which is what Pascal ultimately had in mind but his illness and subsequent death prevented, the reader will likely find Pascal to be quite quotable. There are quite a few 'one liners' in here that are profound to the point of being humorous when one thinks about how insightful his thoughts are. And Pascal, in arguing in favor of the truth of Christianity, makes a very big investment in fulfilled prophecy and the history of the Jews that readers should find interesting. His 8 page discourse on indifference at the beginning of the second section is among the best 8 pages I've ever read and have succeeded in providing a noticeable amount of discomfort for atheists for three centuries now.
The portion of Pensees that is the most well known is Pascal's wager argument early in the second section. Personally, this argument, while interesting, is not the most compelling argument he makes and I consider it a shame that the wager argument has really overshadowed what I believe to be Pascal's most provocative argument in favor of the Christian religion - his anthropological argument. While not stated in this manner, section 1 of Pensees spends considerable time developing the notion that the extreme paradox of humanity (as Pascal sees it) of both immense greatness and horrible evil demand an explanation.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rough but insightful. July 24, 2002
Pascal, the brilliant mathematician, physicist, and engineer, presents in his posthumously titled Pensees, his philosophy of religion and a paradox rich and challenging defense of Christian faith. Says Pascal, "Knowledge has two extremes which meet; one is the pure natural ignorance of every man at birth, the other is the extreme reached by great minds who run through the whole range of human knowledge, only to find that they know nothing... but it is a wise ignorance which knows itself. Those who stand half-way... pretend to understand everything... they get everything wrong."
The book is a collection of unfinished writings; arguments and ideas which he had scribbled, intending to then develop and elaborate. As such, the text is disjointed and even mysterious; statements are abrupt, incomplete, dogmatic. Yet, out of respect for the intellectual accomplishments of the great French mathematician, these notes were published essentially as he had left them. They contain many gems; profound statements which stand like islands in a sea of sometimes jumbled thoughts.
Pascal's themes are: the nature of human knowledge, the affliction of pride, the blindness and tyranny of self, the boundaries of reason, the hiddenness of God, and his own argument for "wagering" not only on God, but on the Christian faith. Two things are obvious; (1.) the arguments are not in the form in which Pascal intended to offer them, therefore, (2.) this is not a definitive apologetic. However, Pascal's arguments are rather unique and as such they are interesting even in their [often] crude form. Read this book in conjunction with the writings of C.S. Lewis, Augustine, or Sundar Singh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I believe this is the H. F. Stewart ...
I believe this is the H. F. Stewart translation. The Audible version does not match the paperback (A. J. Krailsheimer) translation nor the Kindle version (W. F. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sasha
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very interesting.
Published 5 months ago by Anna M. Heller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best edition of this classic book.
Published 7 months ago by Patricia
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Steven H Propp
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
yellowed old copy
Published 9 months ago by Kathy Lococo
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Read
A timeless classic.
Published 9 months ago by K.T. Klassen
3.0 out of 5 stars Blaise Pascal
It was interesting. The book did not contain everything I was looking for. They were interesting, however. I'll keep your service in mind.
Published 15 months ago by Joseph F. Radigan Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars full of the human condition
This is the book to turn to, other than the Bible, to get at the truth of the human heart and the heart of God.
Published on May 20, 2013 by Benny
5.0 out of 5 stars Pascal. What can one say?
He was one of history's more interesting, thoughtful and mufti-faceted characters. I'm finding this book ideal to read in short sessions because each paragraph is worth thinking... Read more
Published on April 11, 2013 by MICHAEL VONPLATO
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intresting
I enjoyed reading this book, which was probably written by one of the greatest minds in mathematics, I recommend you read it
Published on March 10, 2013 by Rana Alqasoos
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