Pensées (Penguin Classics)

by Blaise Pascal

Paperback, 1995



Call number




Penguin Classics (1995), Edition: Revised ed., 368 pages


"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time." -- T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensées"Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true," declared Pascal in his Pensées. "The cure for this," he explained, "is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is." Motivated by the 17th-century view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623-62) had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity, in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. His untimely death prevented his completion of the work, but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 form a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. Essential reading for students of history, philosophy, and theology, the Pensées remain among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity ever written.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member selfnoise
Unusual for a philosophical text, as it represents the private thoughts of the author organized via a method of his own design (he wrote them on strips of paper). Agonized thoughts on spirituality ("the endless silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread") along with a justification of
Show More
theology (commonly known as The Wager) which doesn't quite work. It's nice to read thoughts intimately and without the pretenses of a "published" text.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jpsnow
As far as I'm concerned, Pascal's "shorts" are far more clever, succinct, surprising, and woven together than those of Rouchefoucauld and others. There are many threaded thoughts woven amongst more than 900 maxims and mini-essays each of which stand on their own. The profundity and diversity of
Show More
topics makes the Pensees something to read slowly and ponder -- it takes much more time than reading the same amount of text in typical prose. Here Pascal masterfully forces us to contemplate just about every philosophical aspect of nature, religion, culture, and government, and the human condition in general. Starting with a discussion of the mathematical versus the intuitive mind (there are advantages in both but true genius lies in the mathematically trained also being able to see the big picture and beyond the concrete), he then portrays theology in nature, argues against atheism, supports Catholic doctrine, and finds the source of all unhappiness.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lassiter
A deep thinker and contemplative reading is a must for this book. Pascal delves into some deep spiritual truths. It is also easy to see the personality of Pascal in the writing
LibraryThing member HadriantheBlind
Alternating between brilliant melancholy and theology and other nonsense.
LibraryThing member JVioland
An interesting take on a defense of Christianity by a renowned mathematician. Caution: This is not really a book, but a compilation of material that Pascal had intended to put into a book. He died before completing any part, so it appears disjointed, but his thoughts are lucid.
LibraryThing member ben_a
Re-reading during quarantine. Tremendous as always

Physical description

368 p.; 7.82 x 0.87 inches


0140446451 / 9780140446456

Similar in this library

Page: 0.4248 seconds