This eloquent and philosophically astute translation is the first complete English translation based on the Sellier edition of Pascal’s manuscript, widely accepted as the manuscript that is closest to the version Pascal left behind on his death in 1662. A brief history of the text, a select bibliography of primary and secondary sources, a chronology of Pascal’s life and works, concordances between the Sellier and Lafuma editions of the original, and an index are provided.
"Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true," declared Pascal in his Penseés. "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 (1623–1662) intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity, in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. While Pascal's untimely death prevented his completion of the work, these fragments published posthumously in 1670 as Penseés remain a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. Introduction by T. S. Eliot.
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