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1980, Volume 33; William Benton, Publisher; hardbound; Great Books of the Western World number 33; very good condition of book and boards; gilt lettering and design along spine.


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Pascal's two masterpieces are the "Provinciales" and the "Pensées". The occasion of the "Provinciales" was an accident. The Duc of Liancourt, a friend of Port Royal, having been refused absolution by the curé of Saint Sulpice, Antoine* Arnauld wrote two letters which were censured by the Sorbonne. He wished to appeal to the public in a pamphlet which he submitted to his friends, but they found it too heavy and theological. He then said to Pascal: "You, who are young, must do something." The next day (23 Jan., 1656) Pascal brought the first "Provinciale". The "Petites lettres" followed to the number of nineteen, the last unfinished, from January, 1656, to March, 1657. Appearing under the pseudonym of Louis de Montalte, they were published at Cologne in 1657 as Les Provinciales, ou Lettres écrites par Louis de Montalte à un provincial de ses amis et au RR. PP. Jesuites sur le sujet de la morale et de la politique de ces pères". The first four treat the dogmatic question which forms the basis of Jansenism on the agreement between grace and human liberty. Pascal answers it by practically, if not theoretically, denying sufficient grace and liberty...


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