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Pascal's Wager: The Man Who Played Dice with God

By Jess Maghan, Chester, Conn. / July 2, 2008



In Pascal's Wager: The Man Who Played Dice With God James A. Connor has given us the opportunity to enter the physical space and place of 1588-1670 France. He brings classic and substantive insight into the provincial and fomenting social mores of these times: the militancy and corruption of the papacy; the intrusive and diminishing ideology of Aristotelian philosophy; and, the deepening schism in the Catholic Church and monarchies of Pascal's times. Through the lens of Blaise Pascal's tightly-knit family, we enter the inordinate emotional sibling reliance (addiction) of children who have been raised in the isolated, dominating, and cloistered world of a widowed father suddenly thrust into self-survival and the salt of erudition. Connor offers a beguiling rendition of the facts during Pascal's life and times: How do we reconcile the scientist and the mystic? How do we formulate true questions, questions that ask a question and continue to ask another after that?

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