Pascal was a mathematician, a physicist, an inventor, a theologian, a philosopher, and the greatest prose stylist in the French language. The son of a minor nobleman, Pascal was born at Clermont-Ferrand, in the Auvergne, in 1623. He began as a mathematical prodigy, developed into a student of physics, and completed his brief life in 1662 as a profound religious thinker. Pascal never attempted to base his theology on any particular philosophical system; indeed, he found skepticism to be the most convincing of all philosophies. To Pascal the long skeptical tradition beginning with the ancient Greeks provided the best arguments not only for the impossibility of constructing a philosophy, but also for subduing man's natural arrogance and for 'man's misery without God' - a theme that pervades all of Pascal's philosophical and theological works.