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    A Response to Pascal's Provinciales

    [Blaise Pascal, pseudonym. Louis de Montalte]. Mathieu Petit-Didier. Apologie Des Lettres Provinciales Du Louis De Montalte; Contre La Deriere Reponse Des PP. Jesuites, Intitulee Entretiens De Cleandre Et D'Eudoxe. Rouen & Delft: Hendrik van Rhyn, 1697-8. Twelvemo. Four parts in two volumes bound in one. ¹1,*6, 2*2, A-O12, P8, 3*2. *4, A-O12, P2, a6. [2], 2-344, [4]; [8], 336, [4], 12 pages. Printer's devices on title pages. Contemporary polished calf, spine banded, gilt title and floral designs in compartments. Binding rubbed, corners bumped, spine crazed, chipped at head and foot, front joint cracked, rear joint starting; holograph pen notes, holograph bar of music, and pen sketch of a man smoking a pipe on endpapers; first title page coming loose from lower edge, marginal pen note on C12v, clean tear in D4, D5, and last leaf, some damp staining and foxing, occasional soiling, else in very good condition. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Petit-Didier (1659-1728) "After studying at the Jesuit college at Nancy he joined the Benedictine Congregation of St-Vannes, in 1675, at the monastery of St-Mihiel. In 1682 he was appointed professor of philosophy and theology. In 1699 he was canonically elected Abbot of Bouzonville, but could not take possession because the Duke of Lorraine had given the abbey in commendam to his own brother. He was elected Abbot of Senones in 1715, but got possession only after a lengthy dispute with another claimant. He became president of his congregation in 1723 and two years later Benedict XIII appointed him Bishop of Acra."

    This work is a response to Blaise Pascal's 'Provinciales.' "Appearing under the pseudonym of Louis de Montalte, they were published at Cologne in 1657 as Les Provinciales, ou Lettres écrites par Louis de Montalte à un provincial de ses amis et au RR. PP. Jesuites sur le sujet de la morale et de la politique de ces peres. The first four treat the dogmatic question which forms the basis of Jansenism on the agreement between grace and human liberty. Pascal answers it by practically, if not theoretically, denying sufficient grace and liberty. The seventeenth and eighteenth letters take up the same questions, but with noteworthy qualifications. From the fourth to the sixteenth Pascal censures the Jesuit moral code, or rather the casuistry, first, by depicting a naîf Jesuit who, through silly vanity, reveals to him the pretended secrets of the Jesuit policy, and then by direct invective against the Jesuits themselves. The most famous are the fourth, on sins of ignorance, and the thirteenth, on homicide." [Catholic Encyclopedia].

    Goldsmith BL 17th French, M 1315 & 1316. Colonia I, 81. Barbier I, 246. 265. Brunet, IV, 398.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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