(Often called Balbi, or de Balbis.)
Grammarian; born at Genoa, date unknown; died there about 1298. Of his early life and education nothing is known. He distributed his wealth among the poor of the city, and entered the Order of St. Dominic, apparently at a somewhat advanced age. His noted work, the "Summa Grammaticalis", more commonly known as the "Catholicon", has made his name widely celebrated. The work comprises treatises on orthography, etymology, grammar, prosody, rhetoric, and an etymological dictionary of the Latin language ( primae, mediae et infimae Latinitatis ). The great number of manuscripts in which the "Catholicon" still exists, and the numerous editions through which it passed during the first seventy-five years after the invention of printing, attest the wide acceptance accorded it and the popularity it long enjoyed. For more than a century it was highly esteemed as a textbook. It has been the subject at once of excessive criticism and excessive praise. Erasmus, the most conspicuous of its critics, speaks of it in caustic terms in his "De Ratione Studiorum" and "Colloquia". Leander Alberti ("Viri Illustres Ord. Praed." and "Discrittione di tutta Italia") defends it against the aspersions of the humanist. If we bear in mind the materials the author had at his disposal, the purpose of the work, and the needs of the time, it must be conceded that the "Catholicon" possessed considerable merit. That it met the demands of the age is attested by its popularity. The author by his own assertion refuted those who would have made him an adept in Greek. Besides the "Catholicon", he wrote "Liber Theologiae qui vocatur Dialogus de Quaestionibus Animae ad Spiritum" and "Quoddam opus ad inveniendum festa mobilia". A "Postilla super Joannem" and a "Tractatus de Omnipotentia Dei" are also attributed to John of Genoa.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online