APT Basilicata

APT Basilicata

Basilicata turistica

Duni Emanuele

a cura di Giovanni Caserta

Francesco Duni, choir-master in the cathedral of Matera, had 15 sons, since he got married twice. All his sons studied law and music. Some of them became priests; his daughters became nuns. Egidio Romualdo (1708-1775) died in Paris and Antonio (about 1700-1766) died in Schwerin, in Germany, shone at music. In philosophy and law fields, instead, very remarkable were the brothers Giacinto (born around 1706) and Giuseppe (born around 1710), Saverio (born in 1727) and Emanuele, who, being the most profound of all, influenced all the others. He was born in Matera in 1714. He had a religious education in the seminary of the town; in his family he learned music. He entered the Law Faculty at the University of Naples and he graduated utroque iure. When he returned to Matera, he stopped there until 1742 and worked as lawyer by the Royal Hearing and as teacher by the local seminary. When his father died he moved to Rome where he became Canon law teacher and then Civil law teacher by the University “La Sapienza”. He was Pope Benedetto XIV’s friend and student of Giambattista Vico, who he considered “eternal glory of our Neapolitan nation and teacher of all the enlightened wits”. He died in Naples in 1781, while he was on holiday there.

Main work of Emanuele Duni is Saggio sulla giurisprudenza universale (1760), and also Scienza del costume o sia sistema del diritto universale (1775). From the last title we deduce Emanuele Duni doesn’t distinguish between ethics and jurisprudence or better he considers the two sciences integrating and supplementary one of the other because, although in different ways, they have the same aim. Together they give life sense, so they belong to philosophy, from which they get light and towards which they converge. Starting from his catholic education, like Vico, Emanuele Duni believes in God, the our Maker and his legislator that is to say Providence, because he created the world but he also provides it, through history, with development and improvement. World infact is always improving, among ebbs and flows, under the push of an animating spirit and according to Divine law, which gave the universe an ethic impulse and from which arise morality and law. The one and the other are so universal in their principles. In fact people who have never known each other, follow the same moral principles and laws, which have for this reason to be considered “of nature”. But this doesn’t mean Emanuele Duni, like his brothers, follows the natural law doctrine. This, in fact, refuses God, that is to say a brain, a reason and a universal law. It goes down in deism, “Epicureanism” and materialism. The man, who accepts the natural law doctrine, in other words, accepts the principles of profit and egoism, which doesn’t lead to peace and harmony but to wars and discord.

Certainly it is not clear why although an effective divine law, evil exists. The explanation is in the catholic doctrine. In fact man has got the reason and is free. Often the reason is overhelmed by passion or will is overhelmed by passion in opposition to reason. That is why near to ethics there is law, which is first law “of people” and assured people’s relationship, and then it is the nation law. Morality teaches honesty (lat. honestum,) the good according to our own conscience and acted from the inside; law, on the other side, shows us the right way to reach the “right” or “equality” (lat.aequum) by ruling people relations and so the social life. It acts from outside. According to an ideal prospects, the “right” will rejoin the “honest”. So like in a “circle”, a word used by Emanuele Duni, or in a more technical language like in a “cycle”, law will rejoin ethics like it was at the beginning, in the Eden. And it will be a new and blessed world.

Other works of Emanuele Duni are: De veteri ac novo iure codicillorum commentaries (1752) and Origine e progressi del cittadino e del governo civile di Roma (1763-64).

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