ITH, Johann Samuel. Bern 11.7.1747 — Bern 8.10.1813. Swiss Priest and Schoolteacher. Son of Johannes Ith, a coppersmith, and Margaritha Stulz, lost early his father. Financed his theological studies at Bern as a tutor, graduated in 1770 and was ordained as priest. Then further studies at Göttingen and Berlin, became acquainted with Kant’s philosophy. From 1778 Librarian (Oberbibliothekar) in Bern Municipal Library, from 1781 Professor of philosophy at Bern Academy (seminary), soon its director. He was an important educationalist, who i. al. reformed the teaching of theology at the Academy. In 1787 he was among founders of Political Institute and in 1796 he was entrusted the planning of new school order, but this task was cancelled because of his modern ideas. After the revolution in 1798 he did not accept the offered post of Minister of Art and Science in Helvetian Republic. From 1799 he was Minister and Dean in Münsterkirche in Bern, where he skilfully defended the rights of church in revolution’s tumults. He was known as a man of reforms, but no fanatician. Married 1779 Margaretha Sinner (former Wyttenbach, née Walthard), two daughters.
Publications: Translated: Ezour-Vedam oder der alte Commentar über den Veda. 40+128+150 p. Bern 1779 (with a specimen from the Bagavadam).
– Versuch einer Anthropologie oder Philosophie der Menschen nach seinen körperlichen Anlagen. 1-2. 14+308+8+354 p. Bern 1794, 2nd ed. of 1. 1803: pedagogical works, etc
Sources: E. Blösch, A.D.B. 14, 1881, 643f.; R. Dellsperger in Web HistLexSchweiz; *W. Hugi, Professor J.S.I. von Bern. 1922; R. Stiefel, N.D.B. 10, 1974, 203; German Wikipedia with portrait.
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