Pascal: A Study in Christian Consciousness
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By Romano Guardini
Blaise Pascal, in the words of T. S. Eliot, “is one of those writers who will be and who must be studied afresh by men in every generation.” An immersion into the psychology of a great and determined man, Pascal: A Study in Christian Consciousness addresses a question of paramount importance: How does it happen that a man comes to believe, in the distinct and full sense of the word? Beginning with the central crisis of Pascal’s life, Guardini then examines his image of man and man’s situation in the world; his place in intellectual history and his conceptions of culture and education; further development of his view of human nature in light of man’s relationship to God; and his famous Wager and its insights into the heart of its author. In conclusion, Guardini recapitulates Pascal’s life to show what constitutes its essence “on the human and Christian planes.”
To Pascal the question is to be addressed: What happens when a man believes? What is the structure of the Christian consciousness based on such belief? How does a life determined by such belief realize itself? (Romano Guardini)
Maintaining proper posture vis-à-vis the world is a central tension of the Christian life: Be in the world but not of the world. Pascal, as “a man in whom the decision for Christ and genuine worldly greatness lay in bitter struggle,” illuminates the mystery which informs that tension. For its engaging interpretation of that mystery, Pascal: A Study in Christian Consciousness deserves a close and conscientious reading.
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Romano Guardini (1885–1968) was a Catholic priest, professor, and author, whose intellectual disciples include Josef Pieper, Luigi Giussani, and Joseph Ratzinger. He was professor of theology and philosophy at the University of Berlin, University of Tübingen, and University of Munich. Guardini’s many published works include: The Conversion of Augustine, The Humanity of Christ, and The Last Things.