The Vatican Apostolic Library is displaying four precious works to join the celebration of the philosopher’s 400th birthday.
Blaise Pascal is one of the “great figures” belonging in Pope Francis’ “spiritual constellation,”said Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, during a press conference organized at the Vatican as the apostolic letter Sublimitas et Miseria Hominis was published. Pope Francis’ text, dedicated to the French philosopher, is an opportunity for the Holy See to pay homage to this great thinker.
As part of this homage, the Vatican Apostolic Library is now displaying four precious works to join the celebration of the philosopher’s 400th birthday, the day the Pope’s letter was released.
The Library is displaying a copy of the first edition of the Provincial Letters (1656-1657); a copy of a Latin translation of these Letters (1658) made by the theologian Pierre Nicole; a miniature 17th-century portrait of Pascal; and a first edition of the famous Pensées (1670).
This edition of the Pensées was conceived as a “pocket book,” explained the librarian Pierre Chambert-Protat, underlining its originality. Msgr. Mauro Mantovani, the prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, highlighted the importance of Pascal’s work in a world that needs to recover its capacity to think deeply.
He also underlined the fact that Pascal’s thought (whether philosophical, mathematical, or theological) is characterized by a depth that does not oppose “reason and the heart” but rather makes them mutually interdependent – in a brilliant, coherent response to typical Cartesian mind-body dualism.