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Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing'Christianity is Strange'$
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Richard Parish

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596669.001.0001

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Particularity and Apologetics

Particularity and Apologetics

(p.14) 1 Particularity and Apologetics
Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing

Richard Parish

Oxford University Press

The chapter takes as its major focus the incomplete apologetic project (known as the Pensées) of Blaise Pascal. It gives an account of the text’s difficulties and seeks to establish the nature of its putative readership. It considers the status of the doctrine of the Fall and of original sin as it is presented by Pascal, and examines the dialectical structure with reference to the earlier Entretien avec Monsieur de Saci and to the broader homiletic tradition of the period, with particular reference to Bossuet’s Sermon sur la mort. It shows how Pascal differentiates Christianity from the proofs of natural religion (deism), by his appeal to the hidden God (“Dieu caché”) of Isaiah; and concludes by considering how Pascal’s arguments might be countered.

Keywords:   apologetics, Pascal, Pensées, Fall, Entretien, homiletics, Bossuet, sermons, deism, hidden God

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