Bonaventura Mazzarella

1818-1882. Italian patriot, preacher, and philosopher. Born in Gallipoli (Puglie), he studied law at the University of Naples. As a barrister and judge he fought against poverty, ignorance, and social injustice. Actively involved in the liberation movements and the war of 1848, he was persecuted and took refuge first in Greece, then in Geneva, afterward at Genoa. During this time he came into touch with the Gospel and was converted. He first joined the Waldensian Church, but soon his independent spirit found a more congenial atmosphere in the rising Free Italian Church (see Guicciardini) caring for a large community of believers in Genoa. In 1860 he became professor of pedagogy at Bologna, and then at Genoa, an extraordinary achievement for a non-Roman Catholic. Finally he entered parliament, where he championed the cause of religious liberty and the interests of the much neglected southern regions, and was much respected for his moral integrity and deep humanity. One of the finest intellects of Italian evangelism, he wrote two remarkable philosophical works, La Critica della Scienza and Della Critica.