Review of Metaphysics 58 (4):898-900 (2005)

Jeff Jordan
University of Delaware
Among the historical studies, Ben Rogers performs the unglamorous duty of providing a concise biography of Pascal in “Pascal’s life and times.” Henry Phillips examines Pascal’s study and use of Montaigne and Descartes in “Pascal’s reading and inheritance of Montaigne and Descartes.” This essay is quite informative about Pascal’s apologetic project and the use made of Montaigne and Descartes in that project. An especially interesting feature of this essay is the contrast of the Pascalian apologetic project and the Cartesian. Michael Moriarty, in “Grace and religious belief in Pascal,” offers a very helpful way of distinguishing Jansenism from Calvinism, and from the Semi-Pelagianism of the Jesuits. In “Pascal and holy writ,” David Wetsel offers an exposition of Pascal’s use of the Bible as a “proof” of the truth of Christian belief. Richard Parish, in his “Pascal’s Lettres provinciales: from flippancy to fundamentals,” shows a progression of style and method that gained Pascal’s polemical work a lasting significance. The concluding essay of the collection, “The reception of Pascal’s Pensées in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,” by Antony McKenna, is an interesting survey of the generally negative reaction to Pascal’s emphasis on the hiddenness of God, and the correlative rejection of natural theology in favor of historical theology.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph200558462
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