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The Provincial Letters [Paperback]

By Blaise Pascal (Author)
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Item Number 117005  
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Item description for The Provincial Letters by Blaise Pascal...

"You always fly from the one extreme to the other," replied the monk: "prithee avoid that habit. For, just to show you that we are far from permitting everything, let me tell you that we never suffer such a thing as a formal intention to sin, with the sole design of sinning; and if any person whatever should persist in having no other end but evil in the evil that he does, we break with him at once: such conduct is diabolical.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock
Pages   210
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.09" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 11, 1997
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1579100961  
ISBN13  9781579100964  

Availability  0 units.

More About Blaise Pascal

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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. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  2. Penguin Classics

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Pascal, Blaise

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Provincial Letters?

"Provincial Letters" in a provincial book  Apr 28, 2006
"They have proved agreeable to men of the world, and intelligible even to the ladies" (p. 25) or "It being a much easier matter with them to find monks than reasons" (p.30) or "There is a vast difference between laughing at religion and laughing at those who profane it by their extravagant opinions" (p. 117) or "I need not the aid of any but yourselves to confute you" (p. 171), and of course, "The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter" (p. 192). Pascal's witting style has been a major influence for most shining in irony writers, and the "Provincial Letters" - although Pascal didn't give the title - addressed to "the reverend fathers" (the Jesuits) are the best proof.

However, the book as published by NuVision Publications contains no comments, nor information about the background of the dispute (it does have contents, nevertheless). Not even a single paragraph for Pascal's life (born? - died?), his education and the impact (if any) his letters had in literature. It seems that the body of the letters was taken from a website (there are many containing all letters) and printed exactly as appeared, justified and page-numbered. I think that the price is too high considering the work it took to be published, or the rights the publishers did (not) pay. So, 5-star rate for the Letters, and 1 for the book.

Anyway, not everyone appreciated Pascal's humor. If you want a second opinion for Pascal, try "Men of Mathematics" by the reputable E. T. Bell, who wrote that "among other things which Pascal totally [sic] lacked was a sense of humor". What a bummer, eh?
Excellent Read; Humorous and Insightful  Aug 2, 2001
This series of letters by Blaise Pascal has it all; humor, a good guy (Pascal) and bad guys (Jesuits), and a moral.

Pascal wrote these letters in defense of his Jansenist friends who were being branded as heretics by the Jesuits. At the time, the Jesuits were a powerful religious order who basically taught Christianity all over the world.

In the Provincial Letters, Pascal exposes and ridicules the doctrines of the Jesuits, especially the "doctrine of probable opinions". The Jesuits (supposedly) were attempting to update the Christian doctrine to satisfy the lax morals of the modern world. In an attempt to "widen the pipe" to heaven, the Jesuits developed "modern" church doctrine (while ignoring traditional church doctrine, and the scriptures) to compensate for societies lax morals.

Pascal, defender of the faith, effectively ridicules their doctrines and shows their errors.

A word of caution, the letters are difficult going with respect to discussions on the finer theological points of view (how far we have fallen regarding knowledge of our faith). A good introduction will orient the reader to the conflicts and provide information regarding many of the theological discussions (the edition I used did not have an introduction; this one may). However, Pascal's writing is so humorous and engaging that I continued reading even when I was lost in the argument.

I am on record (in another review) as stating that religion should be updated to reflect our modern view of the world. However, these letters point out the danger of attempting to do that. I need to reconsider that approach.


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