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book reviews79 Maximilian in the 1570's,which had little eventual impact, and his role in the attempt from 1577 to 1581 to establish Archduke Matthias as governor in the Netherlands in an effort to end the conflict there. Two other figures are the Italian antiquarian and architect, Jacopo Strada, and the Dutch humanist Hugo Blotius,who became imperial librarian. Louthan finds in their return to the classical past and cosmopolitanism an effort to raise the status ofthe imperial office so as to enable it to control confessional conflict in the interests of a unified world. The fourth figure, Johannes Grato, a product of Silesian humanism and personal physician to Maximilian and Rudolf, exhibited more genuinely theological interests than the other three. A chief concern of his was the creation of a creed that would bind together most of the Protestant churches. The movement failed, and Louthan shows us why. It was elitist, fuzzy in its theological thinking, and confronted by militants on all sides. He might have brought out more the lack of leadership on the part of a hesitant and uncertain Maximilian II. He himself, Louthan tells us, pursued theological understanding and ultimately considered toleration as a hindrance to it. So he did not share the politique vision, which was the principal intellectual factor in the development of toleration, especially when it saw toleration to be in the best interest of religion as well as of the state. This is a thought-provoking and extremely learned book. It helps make the case that there was an alternative to the confessional war that erupted in 1618. Confessionalism, a term that I wish Louthan had carefully defined, did not necessarily lead to the ThirtyYears' War. Also, it would have been useful had both the irenicists and Louthan distinguished between a Habsburg program for the Empire and one for the hereditary lands where the ruler could exercise considerably more power. Well-chosen illustrations enhance the book. Robert Bkeley, SJ. Loyola University Chicago Blaise Pascal: Reasons of the Heart. By Marvin R. O'Connell. [Library of Religious Biography] (Grand Rapids, Michigan:William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1997. Pp. xxi, 210. $16.00 paperback.) Ofthe introductory biographical studies of the life and works ofBlaise Pascal (1623-1662) that have appeared in English in recent years, Marvin O'Connell's Blaise Pascal:Reasons of the Heart is among the best. It is probably the most readable. Whereas most ofPascal's recent English-speaking biographers have sought to stress his "modernity," Father O'Connell's new study solidly anchors Pascal's life and works in the context of post-Tridentine Catholic history and theology. Nowhere in the book does O'Connell do this better than in his insightful analysis of the text known as the Mémorial (Chapter 5,"The Night of Fire"). 80BOOK REVIEWS Modernists, always anxious to portray Pascal as on the verge offalling into religious doubt, have again and again returned to a specific line in the Mémorial: "Mon Dieu, me quitterez-vous? Que je n'en sois pas séparé éternellement"("My God, will you leave me? Let me not be separated from Him eternally"). Whereas the modernists see this line as a cri d'angoisse bordering on despair, O'Connell ever so justly describes it as a "sacramental cri de coeur only a Catholic would have written," and identifies it as "a word for word translation from the prayer said just before the reception of Communion at Mass" (p. 101).' Much scholarly ink has also been spilled over the significance of Pascal's final words before his death: "Que Dieu ne m'abandonne jamais!" How, it has been asked, could the author ofthe Mystère deJésus have been so terrified by the approach of death? Once again, O'Connell puts the line into its sacramental context by reminding us that these words were pronounced at the moment Père Beurrier, "in accord with custom, gave the final blessing with the ciborium containing the sacred Hosts" (p. 190). O'Connell makes these words,"May God never abandon me," the title of his final chapter. This account of Pascal's final three years constitutes an admirable synthesis of biography and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 79-81
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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