Forster (Foester, Vorster, Forsthemius), Johann°
FORSTER (Foester, Vorster, Forsthemius), JOHANN°
FORSTER (Foester, Vorster, Forsthemius), JOHANN ° (1495–1556), German theologian and Hebraist. Forster studied under Reuchlin at Ingolstadt and later with Luther in Wittenberg. In 1539 he became professor of Hebrew at Tübingen and, ten years later, at the University of Wittenberg. He published a pioneering Hebrew-Latin lexicon, Dictionarium hebraicum novum (Basle, 1557; 15642), which revealed the animosity of its author, a diligent Hebraist, toward the Jews. The lexicon's subtitle stressed that it was "not based on the commentaries of the rabbis or on those of our own scholars, with a foolish imitation … but derived from the treasures of the Bible." He was quite critical of Christian interpreters of the Kabbalah as well. Forster also published Meditationes hebraicae in artem grammaticam (Cologne, 1558). He attempted to derive the word sibyl ("oracle," "prophetess") from "kabula" (i.e., Kabbalah).
Steinschneider, Handbuch, 48 no. 621; M. Adam, Vitae Germanorum Medicorum (1620), 302; F. Secret, Les kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (1964), 275–76. add. bibliography: L. Geiger, Das Studium der hebraeischen Sprache in Deutschland (1870), 97–102, 136–137; J. Friedman, in: Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 42 (1980), 61.
[Giulio Busi (2nd ed.)]