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Gioberti, Vincenzo


Nineteenth-century Italian philosopher and statesman; b. Turin, April 5, 1801; d. Paris, Oct. 26, 1852. Gioberti was ordained in 1825. Exiled in 1830, he stayed first at Paris, then at Brussels, where he taught for ten years in a private institute. neo-guelfism seemed to triumph in the 1846 election of Pius IX to the papacy; so in 1848 Gioberti returned to Turin and became president of the chamber, then president of the ministers. In his Il Rinnovamento civile d'Italia (2 v. Turin 1851) he manifested his abandonment of neo-Guelfism and adoption of liberalism. Retiring to Paris in voluntary exile, he passed the last year of his life there.

Gioberti maintained a complete identity between the first psychological principle and the first ontological principle, a consequence of his embracing the teaching of A. rosmini-serbati concerning the intuition of being as the principle of intelligibility in reality and of objectivity in consciousness. Indeed, his whole philosophy can be summarized in the formula " Being creates the existent and the existent returns to being." All of his philosophical investigation was centered upon the union-distinction of Being and the existent. At one time he emphasized the distinction between them, at another he so emphasized their unity that he resolved Being into the existent, and his philosophy became a divination about the existent, a philosophy of a simultaneously divine and human mind. Although it is disputed whether his teaching was one of theism or pantheism, he did, in fact, end up in pantheism. His "substantive" distinction between Being and the existent is expressed in the following way: "The term 'exist' precisely indicates the divine reality inasmuch as, with creation, it goes outside itself, as it were, transplants itself, expresses itself, and manifests itself" [Protologia 2 v. (Naples 1861) 1:1617]. The two cycles, namely, creation and palingenesis, are conjoined and, as it were, united: "The first act of creation and the last act of palin-genesis do not subsist in themselves, since they are interminable; hence they are nothing. Therefore, they are immediate to each other; nothing is Being, Being is nothing, but only in respect to the existent. However, they subsist in God, in Being, by means of His capacity to fill and reoccupy the infinite" (ibid. 1:251).

Gioberti's concept of the history of humanity as a continuous revelation of God and elevation of man led him, especially in his Riforma cattolica (ed. G. Balsamo-Crivelli, Florence 1924), to view revelation, not as completed in the preaching of the Apostles, but as perennial and ever open, manifesting itself in history and in man's consciousness. This doctrine has been condemned by the Church, and Gioberti's works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books.

See Also: ontologism.

Bibliography: u. benigni, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. c. g. herbermann et al., 16 v. (New York 190414; supplement 1922). c. mazzantini, in Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice-Rome 1957).

[m. f. sciacca]

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