Berti, John Lawrence

, a famous Augustine monk, born May 28, 1696, at Serravezza, a small village in Tuscany, was called to Rome by his superiors, and obtained the title of assistant-general of Italy, and the place of prefect of the papal library. His great proficiency in theological studies procured him these distinctions, and appeared to advantage in his grand work, “De disciplinis theologicis,” printed at Rome in 8 vols. 4to. He here adopts the sentiments of St. Augustine in their utmost rigour, after the example of Bellelli his brother- monk. The archbishop of Vienna [Salmon], or rather the Jesuits who managed him, published under his name in 1744, two pieces against the two Augustine theologues, inveighing against them as being too severely Augustine. The first is entitled, “Ba’ianismus redivivus in scriptis pp. Bellelli et Berti,” in 4to. The second bore this title “Jansenismus redivivus in scriptis pp. Bellelli et Berti,” in 4to. At the same time father Berti was accused to pope Benedict XIV. as a disciple of Ba’ius and of Jansenitis. The prudent pontiff, without returning any answer to the accusers, advised Berti to defend himself; which he accordingly did in a work of two vols. 4to, 1749. In this apology, rather long, though learned and lively, he laid down the difference there is between Jansenism and Augustinianism. After this piece Berti brought out several others, the principal of which is an ecclesiastical history in Latin, in 7 vols. 4to: it made however but little way out of Italy, by reason of the dryness of the historian, and of his prejudices in favour of exploded tenets. He speaks of the pope, both in his theology and in his history, as the absolute monarch of kingdoms and empires, and that all other princes are but his lieutenants. Berti wrote also dissertations, dialogues, panegyrics, academical discourses, and some Italian poems, which are by no means his best productions. An edition in folio of all his works has been printed at Venice. He died at the age of 70, May 26, 1766, at Pisa, whither he had been called by Francis I. grand duke of Tuscany. 1


Biog. Universelle. Mazzuchelli, vol. II. —Fabroni Vitae Italorum, vol. II. p. 43. —Dict. Hist.