Pascal: The Emergence of Genius

By Emile Cailliet | Go to book overview

XVII
Holy Anxiety

"Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

-- Rev. 3:11

In a letter dated Toulouse, July 25, 1660, Fermat expressed to Pascal his desire of seeing him in order to greet him and to converse with him for a few days; but as his health was scarcely better than that of Pascal, who was at that time resting in Clermont, he proposed to his friend to do him "the favor of coming half-way" between Clermont and Toulouse.1 In his answer, dated August 10, Pascal showed himself touched by the honor which the greatest geometer in Europe was doing him. The real reason he desired to see Fermat, however, was that he enjoyed the wit and polish of the latter's conversation, and not that he cared for his position as a great geometer, for, he explained, "to speak to you frankly of geometry, I find it the highest exercise of the mind, but at the same time, I know it to be so useless that I make little distinction between a man who is only a geometer and one who is a clever artisan. Therefore, I call it the finest trade in the world, but it is only a trade: and I have often said that it is good in order to make the trial but not the use of our strength: so that I should not take two steps for geometry. ...But now there is in addition this in me, that I am steeped in studies so far from that mentality, that scarcely do I remember that there is any such."2

Pascal was alluding, not only to his project of a "Vindication of Christianity," but to his Biblical studies and to his diligent efforts toward holiness. Henceforth, the only thing which counts more and more for him is salvation.

As we have stated before, Valéry comments: "He has exaggerated, frightfully and crudely, the opposition of knowledge and of salvation"; he had "found" -- an allusion to the assurance which Pascal received

____________________
1
Lettres de Fermat à Pascal ( July 25, 1660) et de Pascal à Fermat ( August 10, 1660), at the time of Pascal's stay in Auvergne, Œuvres,v. 10, 1 ff.
2
Ibid., v. 10, 4.

-339-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Pascal: The Emergence of Genius
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction to the Torchbook Edition 6
  • Preface to the Torchbook Edition 14
  • I - The Emergence of a Pilgrim 17
  • II - An Open Mind in the Making 39
  • III - The Jansenist Quickening 53
  • IV - The Physicist Confronting His Bible 67
  • V - The Source of Our Unhappiness 85
  • VI - Pascal's Hour of Agony 111
  • VII - Fire in the Night 131
  • VIII - Glimpse of a Sanctuary 149
  • IX - The New Vista 167
  • X - Not Peace, but a Sword 187
  • XI - The Champion 207
  • XII - The Sign in the Midst of Battle 223
  • XIII - The Dictates of Conscience 243
  • XIV - Fighting a New Inquisition 267
  • XV - A Lamp Unto My Feet 289
  • XVI - Running the Way of the Lord 311
  • XVII - Holy Anxiety 339
  • XVIII - Meditation on a Death Mask 361
  • Appendix to the Torchbook Edition: Recent Research 364
  • Index 375
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 383

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.