FORSTER (FOERSTER, VORSTER, FORSTHE-MIUS), JOHANN: 1. Lutheran theologian and Hebrew scholar; b. at Augsburg July 10, 1496 (or 1495); d. at Wittenberg Dec. 8, 1558. 1515 he entered the University of Ingolstadt where he became the most studious and capable Hebrew scholar of Reuchlin; on account of a pestilence he removed in 1521 to Leipsic, and became a pupil of P. Mosellanus, through whose influence, probably, he received in 1522 a position as teacher of Hebrew at the Greek-Latin school in Zwickau. In 1529 he resigned, and in 1530 became a student at the University of Wittenberg, where he remained as preacher about six years. He assisted Luther in the translation of the Bible, and became one of his most devoted pupils and friends. In 1535 he received a call to Augsburg, where he became involved in controversies with his Zwinglian colleagues. In 1539 he became professor of Hebrew at Tübingen, on the recommendation of Luther and Camerarius. The question whether the Reformation should proceed according to Saxon or Swiss principles and doctrines was then a burning one, and Forster lost his position in this struggle because he did not side with the Zwinglians. In 1542 he became provost of St. Lawrence at Nuremberg, and thence extended his reformatory activity, first to Regensburg in 1542 and in the following year to the county of Henneberg. In unselfish devotion to the cause of the Reformation he sacrificed his position at Nuremberg, but as his plans of church discipline were not carried out, he went into voluntary retirement after three years. After some vain efforts of Melanchthon and his friends to find a position for him, Prince George of Anhalt called him as superintendent to the bishopric of Merseburg, and subsequently Duke Augustus provided him with a capitular prebend. After Cruciger's death in 1549, he was called to Wittenberg as professor of Hebrew and preacher at the Castle Church. In 1514 he took part in the convention of Naumburg on the side of Melanchthon. The last decade of his life may be designated as the Melanchthonian period, since he became more lenient in church discipline and expressed himself in a more conciliatory manner on the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. The principal work of his life is a great Hebrew-Latin dictionary, Dictionarium hebraicum novum, non ex rabbinorum commentis nec ex nostratium doctorum stulta imitatione descriptum sed ex ipsis thesauris S. Bibliorum et eorundem accurata collatione depromptum (Basel, 1557; 2d ed., 1564).
2. Not to be confounded with the above is the younger Johann Forster; b. at Auerbach (15 m. s.w. of Zwickau), Saxony, Dec. 25, 1576; d. at Mansfeld (38 m. s. of Magdeburg) Nov. 17, 1613. He was preacher at Leipsic, 1593, rector in Schneeberg, 1601; chief preacher of Zeitz, professor of theology in Wittenberg 1609 and finally general superintendent at Mansfeld He was the author of various theological and devotional writings.