conversionand thereafter turned much of his attention to religion. When Antoine Arnauld, a noted Jansenist, was attacked by the Jesuits, Pascal championed him in his Lettre escrite à un provincial (1656). Those Provincial Letters, rendered into Latin, quickly circulated throughout Europe, and they still hold a leading place in the literature of polite irony. Pascal's religious writings were posthumously published as Pensées de M. Pascal sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets (1670). For a modern edition see Thoughts: An Apology for Christianity (tr. 1955). In the Pensées, famous both as a religious and philosophical classic, Pascal states his belief in the inadequacy of reason to solve man's difficulties or to satisfy his hopes. He preached instead the final necessity of mystic faith for true understanding of the universe and its meaning to man.
See biographies by A. J. Krailsheimer (1980), H. H. Davidson (1983) studies by E. Cailliet (1944, repr. 1973), R. Hazelton (1974), S. E. Melzer (1986), and G. Hunter (2013).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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