The Provincial Letters


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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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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?

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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. Bell, who wrote that "among other things which Pascal totally [sic] lacked was a sense of humor". What a bummer, eh?

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The Lettres provinciales (Provincial letters) are a series of eighteen letters written by French philosopher and theologian Blaise Pascal under the pseudonym. The Provincial Letters. Blaise Pascal. translated by Thomas M'Crie. This web edition published by [email protected] Last updated Wednesday, December 17 .

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Pensees and the Provincial Letters , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Pensees and the Provincial Letters. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Pensees is the skeleton of a book. In substance, they are not that far off either. Of course, the most well known and best writing comes in Section 3, The Necessity of the Wager. Despite what we imagine the truth is behind our existence, he sums it up nicely. It is not optional.

Pensees and the Provincial Letters

Toward the end of the Pensees the writing takes on a much more Christian orthodox tone. His dismissal of Islam and contesting beliefs in favor of Christianity lacks the self-reflective tenor of the earlier writings. Belief is no longer a wager, it becomes conviction.

The Provincial Letters takes up the second half of the book.

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Pascal writes in defense of the Jansenists against the accusations of the Jesuits. The letters attack the spurious causistic morality of the Jesuits and contain debates of finer points of Catholicism such as the existence of efficacious grace. In the time they were written, they may have been compelling reading on the esoteric aspects of faith but, not surprisingly, they are hard to get into today.

Unless you are a hardcore Calvinist or something. Aug 09, John rated it really liked it. The Pensees make up the first half of the volume. In general, I found the more philosophical sections to be of greater value to me than the theological sections. Many of the thoughts in those early philosophical sections took on the character of proverbs, practical axioms to live by. This works given the format of the work.

The more theological sections struck me as fragmentary--the beginnings of arguments or ideas that had yet to be developed as they needed to be. This isn't the case all the ti The Pensees make up the first half of the volume.

The Provincial Letters

This isn't the case all the time, but it gave the latter portion of the work less vitality. The Provincial Letters were surprisingly comical, but only at that point where comedy touches sadness.

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Retrieved 16 May — via Gallica. This isn't the case all the ti The Pensees make up the first half of the volume. In some ways Pascal is a modern thinker, saying that when scientific experience conflicts with Scripture, we must conclude that we have misunderstood Scripture. Found the style of writing a challenge. Open Preview See a Problem? Read more Read less.

Pascal spends most of the first few letters going back and forth to various representatives of competing theological groups trying to assess their rather obscure differences. All this only heightens the sense that theologians are completely out of touch with real life. Pascal's interjections to the absurdities he's hearing are amusing, though they never fail to make his very serious points.

The rest of the letters involve his dialogue with a single monk, and then a broader group of Jesuits. These gentlemen have designs on undermining virtually any sinful practice, all by focusing the doctrine of sin on intentions rather than the actions themselves. Pascal is rightly horrified by such rationalizing, and responds pointedly to protect his own reputation, but more than that, to defend those who have been undermined by these misguided and probably wicked monks.

The arguments get relatively repetitive by the end, but the letters are quite valuable for capturing a theological moment, as well as demonstrating effective means to craft a response to erroneous opinions. Mar 27, Roger Burk rated it liked it. It's an odd combination. In some ways Pascal is a modern thinker, saying that when scientific experience conflicts with Scripture, we must conclude that we have misunderstood Scripture. But the last third of the Pensees is devoted to how miracles prove the truth of Catholicism. It reminds me of Newton, a great mathemetician and scientist who devoted much of his later life to unprofitable speculations on religion and alchemy.

Oct 06, sologdin rated it did not like it Shelves: Jun 20, Brian rated it liked it. Sep 04, Penny rated it really liked it. First off I will admit I did not read the Provincial Letters part of the book.

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I had to get this through interlibrary loan and this was the volume that contained Pensees. I have read many quotes from Pensees and kept some of them. But overall, the many "thoughts" were drier than I had anticipated. It was written in the 's which is why it deserves 4 stars -- he was a very deep thinker for his time and I am sure his thoughts were well discussed by those who had the wherewithal to purchase a co First off I will admit I did not read the Provincial Letters part of the book.