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Pensees (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 1, 1995
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Original Language: French
About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We studied a condensed version of this in my third year French class in 1963. I found it very interesting and expanded my thought. Read morePublished 2 months ago by R.L.D.
Pascal is timeless. The Pensees will continue to be relevant, and is especially relevant today.Published 8 months ago by MBT_Hawk
Not a book you can read in just one sitting, you really have to think and you really need to know the Bible. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sean
Extremely frustrating. William Sutherland does a great job and I really like this translation. Unfortunately the audio publisher decided to use a translation that is not... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tony Galiardi
I had another edition of this work that I either loaned out or misplaced. I think it is a classic of Christian thought. Read morePublished 12 months ago by John O. Gould, Topeka, KS
Awesome and thought provoking book. Helps you to understand the power of God in our lives and what we need to do to return to Him.Published 13 months ago by CHERYL DAWN ADAMS
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 morePublished 19 months ago by Sasha