Blaise Pascal portrait

Celebrating Blaise Pascal’s 400th Birthday

This year, June 19th will mark the 400th birthday of the great French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Pascal’s name and work is no stranger to the CUA Press catalog, so today we want to create our own Pascal Reading Program for those who want to learn more about the great intellectual and his work.

Pascal Pensees translation cover


Blaise Pascal
Translation edited by Pierre Zoberman with notes by David Wetsel and Pierre Zoberman
Introduction by David Wetsel

The Pensées highlights all facets of Pascal’s genius, his familiarity with Scripture combined with a talent for controversy, irony mixed with fervor, and altogether the production of an intriguing and challenging writer and thinker. This volume is a translation of Philippe Sellier’s edition of Pascal’s Pensées by a team of international Pascal scholars, in addition to two shorter texts, the Exchange with M. de Sacy and The Life of Monsieur Pascal by Pascal’s sister, Gilberte Périer.

“Reading Pensées afresh in this latest edition, I was amazed how truly insightful Pascal can be regarding the human condition, and prescient regarding the problems we moderns face centuries removed from his comparatively more pastoral, and less frantic French life.”

The Catholic Thing
Why Read Pascal book cover

Why Read Pascal?

Paul J. Griffiths

Why Read Pascal? engages all the major topics of Pascal’s theological and philosophical writing. It provides discussion of Pascal’s literary style, his anthropology, his politics, and his understanding of the relation between Christianity and Judaism. Pascal emerges as a literary stylist of a high order, a witty and polemical writer, and, perhaps above all else, as someone concerned to show to Christianity’s cultured despisers that the fabric of their own lives implies the truth of Christianity if only they can be brought to look at what their lives are like.

“Paul J. Griffiths gives us the complete Pascal: Augustinian anthropologist, rhetorician, political theorist, and – always, from beginning to end – faithful Catholic Christian. We should read Pascal because Pascal helps us understand what matters most. We should read Griffiths because Griffiths helps us understand Pascal. Why Read Pascal? is now the best short introduction to Pascal’s philosophical and religious thought that I know.”

William Wood, Oriel College, University of Oxford
Tilliette translation book cover

The Eucharist in Modern Philosophy

Xavier Tilliette
Translation and Introduction by Jonathan Martin Ciraulo
Foreword by Cyril O’Regan

Renowned Jesuit philosopher Xavier Tilliette (1921-2018) wrote voluminously on the relationship between modern philosophy and theology, particularly concerning the way in which Christology is central to the development of modern philosophy. In this volume, he extends that project to look at how various philosophers and poets, including Pascal, thought extensively about the question of the Eucharist. While Pascal rarely directly wrote on the Eucharist, personal accounts reveal his deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, which Tilliette deftly weaves in with his philosophies on truth and mystery to paint a vivid picture on Pascal’s thought regarding the hidden God. The Eucharist in Modern Philosophy is one of the last books written by Tilliette, and the first to be translated into English.

“This is a high-quality translation of an important book in philosophical theology. Xavier Tilliette, SJ, was a major figure in 20th philosophy and theology and the translation of this historical philosophy of the Eucharist, based on his Roman courses, is a very welcome development.”

Cathal Doherty, SJ, University of San Francisco
Pascal and Disbelief cover

Pascal and Disbelief: Catechesis and Conversion in the Pensées

David Wetsel

This work aims to answer a question that has puzzled readers since the Penses first appeared in 1670: To whom is Pascal’s call to Christian conversion really addressed? By approaching the Pensées from the vista of the contemporary study of the history of religions, Wetsel seeks to contribute to a rapprochement between modernist and traditionalist Pascal studies and thereby initiate a new dialogue between theology and critical theory.

“This study constitutes a major contribution to the literature on Pascal…. [It] should be read by all students of Pascal, as well as by a wider audience of readers interested in the apologist…. The serious reader… will find an excellent introduction to Pascal’s Pensées as well as a wealth of scholarly information useful for embarking on a serious study of that great work of apologetics.”

Professor Lane M. Heller, Department of French, The University of Western Ontario
McCarthy book cover

Modern Enlightenment and the Rule of Reason

Edited by John C. McCarthy

Was “the Enlightenment” truly enlightened or enlightening? The essays in this volume seek philosophical clarity of modernity’s enlightenment by examining the works of the Enlightenment thinkers, critics, and reformers, such as Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, and of course, Pascal. John C. McCarthy’s contribution specifically examines Pascal’s reckoning with philosophy’s certainty and utility, most especially through the Pensées, and how that led to him clashing (and aligning, perhaps more than he realized) with Descartes.

Filter by Month