Philosopher, theologian; b. Bibermühle, Bavaria, Nov. 15, 1692; d. Polling, Feb. 5, 1775. He received his early education from the Jesuits at Munich and entered the canons regular at Polling, where in 1717 he was assigned to teach philosophy and, later, theology and Canon Law. In 1722 he founded an influential scientific and literary review, Parnassus boicus, which he continued for some years. Amort spent the years from 1733 to 1735 as theologian to Cardinal Lercari in Rome, where he became acquainted with many distinguished scholars and theologians. Among his correspondents were numbered such men as Benedict XIII and Benedict XIV, cardinals Lercari, Orsi, and Galli, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and Daniel Concina. After his return from Rome, Amort devoted the last 40 years of his life to writing. Seventy volumes came from his pen, embracing an almost encyclopedic range of subjects: philosophy, apologetics, dogmatic, moral, and mystical theology, history, Canon Law, prayer books, catechisms, and hagiography. Engaging in the controversy on probabilism, he sought to maintain a middle course between rigorism and laxism, and he is credited with being a cofounder of equiprobabilism, inasmuch as St. Alphonsus appealed to his authority in support of that system. He took a very critical view of the Mystical City of God of Mary of agreda, against which he devoted the best known of his works, De revelationibus, visionibus et apparitionibus regulae tutae & (Augsburg 1744), a book that brought him into conflict with the supporters of Mary. Amort also entered into the controversy that was being waged at the time with regard to the authorship of the imitation of christ. He vigorously defended the claims of Thomas à Kempis against the Benedictine champions of Jean Gerson, and filled seven books with his views upon the matter. His more important moral treatises were: Theologia eclectica, moralis et scholastica (4 v. Augsburg 1752), an edition of which, revised by Benedict XIV, was published in Bologna in 1753; Theologia moralis inter regorem et laxitatem media (Augsburg 1739); and Ethica christiana (Augsburg 1758). His Vetus disciplina canonicorum regularium et saecularium (Venice 1748) is still considered a valuable contribution to the history of religious orders.
Bibliography: No thorough biographical study of Amort has been written. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 v. in 6 (3d ed. Innsbruck 1903–13) 5.1:228–232. c. toussaint, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) 1.1:1115–17. l. hertling, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932—) 1:530–531. t. j. shahan, The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. c. g. herbermann et al., 16 v. (New York 1907–14; suppl. 1922) 1:434–435.
[p. k. meagher]
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