“ Man Infinitely Transcends

“ Man Infinitely Transcends

PASCAL: Pensées


Pensées is a collection of thoughts, serially numbered and grouped into sections by editors after the death of the author.  Every thought is exact in content and wording.  The nature of the content arrangement allows a reader to start reading it anywhere, and it would make ready sense.

Read the text carefully and answer the following questions precisely. Page numbers given in brackets show where the answers can be found. However, read the book completely, not merely the portions that contain the specific answers.  Write legibly.  Expand the writing space as needed.

If your edition of the book is different from what I have followed, you should still be able to locate the corresponding page.  You can also find the answers by the serial number of the “thought” in the book. 

1. Brief biography of Blaise Pascal with weighty specifics, including his major contributions to the world.

2. Introduce the book, Pensées, a person who has never heard of it.

3. What does Pascal mean by “the rules of perspective”? (p. 6-7)

4. What statement does Pascal make on time? (p.13)

5. Pascal says, “It is good to be deceived.”  Why?  (p. 13, 17)

6. What does Pascal say about himself in relation to cosmic space? (p. 19)

7. What’s the relationship between present pleasures and absent pleasures? (p. 19)

8. “Two kinds of ignorance.”  Explain.  (p. 22)

9. “Two sources of our actions.” Identify. (p. 25)

10. Without this, man would be a stone or animal. What? (p. 29)

​  11.  Man is equal either to  or​ (p. 31)

​  12. Why does Pascal say that “man infinitely transcends man”? (p. 35)

 13. Why or when does rest prove intolerable? (p. 39-40)

    14.  When is a king a wretched man? (p. 42)

15. What is the infinite abyss in relation to which God is mentioned?  What has God to do  with it? (p. 45)

16. What have the philosophers not offered us?  (p. 47-48)

17. Does Pascal reject miracles?  Why?  (pp. 50, 55)

18. How does Christ stand in between God and wretchedness? (p. 57)

19. What moves Pascal to terror? (p. 59)

20. How does Pascal define nature?  (p. 60)

21. What is our problem with extremes?  (p. 63)

22. What fills Pascal with dread?  (p. 66)

23. Why is the Christian religion appropriate for all?  (p. 68,70)

24. What are the differences between the prophecies on Christ’s first and second comings?  (p. 80)

25. The Jews were fond of symbols, but what happened? (p. 84)

26. Neither of these is the Christian nor Jewish religion.  Which ones? (p. 92)

    27. What is Pascal’s proof for the flood and creation? Caution: This one question alone be enough for a major project research.  Can you see what portion of Biblical genealogy Pascal uses to make this note? Hint: Gen. 5; also see, thought #392 on p. 117 (p. 94)

 28. What is peculiarly remarkable about the Jewish people?  (p. 97)

29. What are the weighty proofs of Jesus?  (p. 102, 115)

30. Why does Plato get mentioned in relation to thousands of ignorant men? (p. 103)

31. How should complaints about hardness of life be handled? (p. 120)

32. Pascal is known for his famous wager. What is it?  Note: This section is one of the most quoted of all Pascal passages.  Read it slowly and carefully.  (p. 123)

33. What is the position of the heart in relation to reason?  Why? (127)

34. What Pascal trying to explain in his atom-eternity parallel? (130)

35. “It is a monstrous thing to see one and the same heart at once so sensitive to minor things and so strangely insensitive to the greatest,” says Pascal.  What inspires this comment? (p.131) 

36. “I am in a pitiful state,” says Pascal. Why? (p. 135)

37. Why are we unable to understand the state of Adam’s glory or his sin or how it has been transmitted to us? (p. 135)

      38. What is the pleasing thing about God’s hiddenness and revelation? (p. 117, 139)

39. Pages 140-41 speak of “two truths alike:” what are they? How do those truths relate to 

 a philosopher’s knowledge of God? 

40.   What are some of the unique qualities of the Jewish people? (p. 116, 143, 149)

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