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Pensees (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By A. J. Krailsheimer (Author) & Blaise Pascal (Author)
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Item description for Pensees (Penguin Classics) by A. J. Krailsheimer & Blaise Pascal...

'If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural' Blaise Pascal, the precociously brilliant contemporary of Descartes, was a gifted mathematician and physicist, but it is his unfinished apologia for the Christian religion upon which his reputation now rests. The Pensees is a collection of philosohical fragments, notes and essays in which Pascal explores the contradictions of human nature in pscyhological, social, metaphysical and-above all-theological terms. Mankind emerges from Pascal's analysis as a wretched and desolate creature within an impersonal universe, but who can be transformed through faith in God's grace. This masterly translation conveys Pascal's disarmingly personal tone and captures all the fire and passion of the original. Also contained in this volume are a comparison between different editions, appendices and a bibliography.

Publishers Description

'If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural'

Blaise Pascal, the precociously brilliant contemporary of Descartes, was a gifted mathematician and physicist, but it is his unfinished apologia for the Christian religion upon which his reputation now rests. The Pensees is a collection of philosophical fragments, notes and essays in which Pascal explores the contradictions of human nature in psychological, social, metaphysical and--above all--theological terms. Mankind emerges from Pascal's analysis as a wretched and desolate creature within an impersonal universe, but who can be transformed through faith in God's grace.

This masterly translation conveys Pascal's disarmingly personal tone and captures all the fire and passion of the original. Also contained in this volume are a comparison between different editions, appendices and a bibliography.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.82" Width: 5.08" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 1995
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
Edition  Revised  
Series  Penguin Classics  
ISBN  0140446451  
ISBN13  9780140446456  
UPC  051488011002  

Availability  21 units.
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More About A. J. Krailsheimer & Blaise Pascal

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo!
Honor Levi is a teacher at St Leonard's School, St Andrew's, Fife. Anthony Levi is a retired Professor of French at St Andrews.

Blaise Pascal was born in 1623 and died in 1662.

Blaise Pascal has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Philosophical Classics
  2. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  3. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Foreign Language Books > French > All French Books
2Books > Foreign Language Books > French > Nonfiction
3Books > Foreign Language Books > French > Religion & Spirituality
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Movements & Periods > Renaissance
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern Renaissance
9Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
10Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Pascal, Blaise
11Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
12Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
13Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic
14Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Pensees (Penguin Classics)?

Poetic, Clear & Truthful.  Nov 15, 2007
I have read Pascal's Pensees 2 times now - and cannot but marvel at his depth and Truth. I have been blessed with languages and been able to read this monumental work in its original language of French. The translated book though is good and detracts not from the clear thoughts propounded. Truly an Apologist before any other, Pascal will with clarity, wit, logic and sarcasm, point out the faults of man, his need of God and why there is only one true God. Like a modern Solomon, Pascal states with simplicity many a timeless truth about the human condition. So much of this book could be used as quotes to guide nearly all facets of our lives. This is a must-read for those with an interest either in apologetics or truth.
The depth of thought.. the poetry.. the reasons that are not accesible to reason  May 15, 2007
My profile- No qualifications as a philosophy critic whatsover

I write this review based on my own experiences while reading it in my early 20's... I was blessed with the time and the setting for it was done in a remote beach town here in Venezuela...indeed if there ever was a good time to read the Pensees it was during this period, where I had the time to read the philosophy, where the spirit was eagerly looking for its tools to discover truth..

The Pensees are even more applyable today (at my 40s) than back then.. its true I no longer follow the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church as I did back then.. to outgrow your religion, your nationality and your family is to me a necessary part of existence.. its ok if you go back to any of them later, but the trip has to be made... and to make this trip this is the book!! sure, it has compelling arguments to turn you into a christian.. but then again, the arguments are compelling for any religion that uses them.. I do not want to give you an impression that this is about religion only.. they are some many themes.. chose your existencialism poetry (young readers take note).. use practical psycology as to classify manking perception modes... laugh at the imagination is a an imperfect tool that exerts its mastery here and wide..
A Spiritual Classic from a Great Scientific Mind  Nov 1, 2005
I first picked up Pascal's Pensees because I was intrigued by his reputation as a genius of physics and mathematics. I was not very far into it before I realized that I was reading a Christian spiritual classic, in its own right.

Perhaps because Pascal was such a brilliant physicist and mathematician, his Pensees resonate with my very modern soul, steeped as it is in the scientific mode of thought.

He understands the restlessness of the modern soul in his comments on "diversion" - "If our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it." And again - "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." These things are at least as pertinent in the 21st century as they were in the 17th.

His comments on reason (and its limitations) are very sharp - "Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it." Pascal was a world-class scientist of his day, and yet he was very much aware of what reason was and was not capable of.

I especially liked his comments on "The Hidden God" - "[We see] too much to deny and not enough to affirm." Or again, "What can be seen on earth indicates neither the total absence, nor the manifest presence of divinity, but the presence of a hidden God. ... to know that one has lost something one must see and not see; such precisely is the state of nature."

He is also very perceptive in his comments on the simultaneous greatness and smallness, glory and corruption, of human nature.

And I haven't even mentioned the two most famous passages, "The Wager" and "Reasons of the Heart"; this book is dense with nuggets of pure gold.

The Pensees can seem very disjointed, because, in his lifetime, Pascal merely wrote down his thoughts as they occurred to him. What we have are essentially his notes; he died before he could organize them into a coherent work, or develop some of his more obscure themes. A lot falls on the editor/translator to make sense of the material he has to work with, and I think A.J. Krailsheimer has done an admirable job.

This is a wonderful book, and justly counted a classic.
Religion of the Heart and of the Head  May 10, 2005
Before actually reading "Pensees," I knew Blaise Pascal and his "Pensees" only from snippets of quotes such as, "The heart has its reason of which reason knows nothing" and from "Pascal's Wager": better to risk believing in God and living with Him for all eternity and being wrong, then risk not believing in God and living apart from Him in all eternity and because you were wrong.

Having read him, I know now that the quote and wager just mentoned, though only snippets, do summarize his brilliance and his beauty. Like few others, Pascal fuses head and heart in his defense of Christianity. His ability is likely due to his brilliant mind that on November 23, 1654, from 10:30 PM to 12:30 AM encountered God in a mysterious, mystical experience that he could only describe with the one-word epitaph: "Fire."

For the rest of his brief life (he died at age 39), the fire in his soul and the genius of his mind merged in the "writing" of "Pensees." I place "writing" in quotation marks because Pascal's early death never allowed him to finish "Pensees." What we have is akin to his outline (though 325 pages in length!). Imagine if he had actually finished it. Pascal, ever the absent-minded professor, would have a thought run through his mind, write it down, cut it in a strip, and splice it in with other similar subject headings.

It's helpful to understand this before reading "Pensee" for what you find is brilliant disorder--an incomplete sentence here, half a thought there, then long and insightful paragraphs here. In other words, you do need to wade through the unusual design of the book, but in the wading you will find oceans of depth that flood both your heart and your head with passion and reason to love and know God.

Pascal's "real world" arguments for God are the most rationally and personally compelling ones that I have ever read. Pascal honestly faces the reality that we see God only in part and that by evidence alone, whether of reason or nature or both, we might just as well conclude that there is no God (the atheists), or that He is not loving, or not powerful, or that He is disinterested (Deism), or dispassionate (the Greek philosophers). He then explains that God reveals enough in nature to cause us to perceive His existence and to perceive that we are finite and fallen. Nature, according to Pascal, points more to the Mediator--Christ--the One who reveals the hidden God as a God of holiness and love, and the One who reveals us as God's prodigal children who need to come home.

Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," and the forthcoming "Sacred Companions: A History of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."

Pascal's Pensees  Nov 7, 2004
For thousands of years humanity has been searching for the presence of an invisible God. Blaise Pascal's "Pensees" is an excellent book describing why God's presence in our lives is so important. Even though I disagree with Pascal's reasoning concerning the defense and support of the Christian faith, he comes across as someone interested in the well-being and happiness of others, which makes it possible for "Pensees" to be beneficial to people of all faiths.
Pascal reminds us that people have been trying to find happiness, through worship, for many years. People have worshipped idols like wood, clay, stone and religious figures. Pascal's intention is to extend the idea that the need to worship someone or something is a natural fixation installed in us. Man's need to worship someone or something must then be due to the fact that God exists.
Pascal's "Pensees" suggests that we need God's help to be happy and to settle many of our own internal wars. Pascal points out that people fight with their own selfishness as well as that of others. He reminds us that the injustices, tyranny and irrational wars of the world have caused much distress. Pascal points out three troublesome questions humanity has struggled with: what is my purpose in life, where is my life going and how much time do I have left?
Pascal sheds light on the three types of people in the world and how God's presence in their lives is needed for their happiness. He tells us that people who have found God are reasonable and happy. Those who have not found God but continue to seek God are unhappy and reasonable, and those who leave God out of their lives are unreasonable and unhappy. Pascal is trying to relate to us that true happiness comes from knowing and understanding our creator.
Pascal, with his wager, intends to show how people have nothing to lose or possibly everything to gain when they put their faith in the Christian God. Although, he argues total destruction may find those who choose not to devote themselves to the Christian faith. As I stated, I disagree with the one-sidedness of Pascal's wager. If we look at Pascal's wager from a religiously neutral standpoint, we can eliminate the fallacy of the wager. Therefore, to put your faith in the "Creator of All Things" can only bring about a relationship with the true God.
Pascal's Pensees is a challenging book that if looked at with the right perspective depicts that happines can be found when a relationship is established with the true God. Pascal's "pensees", consists of ideas that can be useful if applied to our lives in a positive and non-prejudicial way.

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