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Casto Innocenzio Ansaldi
Theologian and archaeologist, b. at Piacenza, in Italy, 7 March, 1710; d. at Turin, in 1780. In 1726 he entered the Dominican Order at Parma, where he pursued his preparatory studies, and in 1733 was a student of the Minerva College at Rome, where he attached himself to Cardinal Orsi. In 1735 he taught philosophy at Santa Caterina in Naples, and the following year received the chair of metaphysics at the University. The King of Naples created a chair of theology for him in 1737, which he retained till 1745. From 1745 to 1770 he taught successively at Brescia, Ferrara, and Turin. In the latter city he taught for twenty years with great success and repute. He was averse to the scholastic method and therefore had serious trouble with the authorities of the Order, which was finally smoothed over by Cardinal Quirini and Benedict XIV. His published works fill several volumes, and have ever been prized for a combination of theological and historical erudition. Most of them are directed against the anti-Christian tendencies of his day. His most important works are: "Patriarchae Josephi, Aegypti olim proregis, religio a criminationibus Basnagii vindicata" (Naples, 1738), vol. XIII in the "Raccolta d'opuscoli di P. Calogerà" (Venice, 1741); "De traditione principiorum legis naturalis" (Brescia, 1743; Oxford, 1765); "De Romanâ tutelarium deorum in oppugnationibus urbium evocatione liber singularis" (Brescia, 1742; Venice, 1753, 1761; Oxford, 1765), "De martyribus sine sanguine" (Milan, 1744; Venice, 1756, in the "Thesaurus antiquitatum sacrarum" of Ugolini), a valuable anti-Dodwellian dissertation on the sufferings of the primitive Christians; "Herodiani infanticidii vindiciae" against those who impugned its historicity (Brescia, 1746); "De authenticis sacrarum Scripturarum lectionibus" (Verona, 1747), a very learned and solid work in favour of the accuracy of the Fathers in quoting Scripture; "De baptismate in Spiritu Sancto et igni commentarius sacer philologicocriticus" (Milan, 1752); "De Theurgiâ deque theurgicis a divo Paulo memoratis commentarius" (Milan, 1761); "Riflessioni sopra i mezzi di perfezionare la filosfia morale" (Turin, 1778), with a biography of the author; "De perfectione morali" (Turin, 1790); "Praelectiones theologicae de re sacramentaria " (Venice, 1792). His controversy with Francesco Zanotti in defence of Maupertuis's apology (Berlin, 1749) for Christian morality, as superior to that of the Stoics, was celebrated in the eighteenth century. He also compiled: "Della necessità e verità della religione naturale e rivelata" (Venice, 1755), a collection of evidences and admissions from the works of celebrated non-Catholics. His brother, also a Dominican, Carlo Agostino, wrote a work (Turin, 1765) on the large number of the Christians before Constantine; another brother, Pietro Tommasso, wrote an excellent dissertation on the divinity of Christ (Florence, 1754).
HURTER, Nomenclator (2d ed.), III, 64-67.
THOS. M. SCHWERTNER