Prince-Abbot of St. Emmeram at Ratisbon, b. 30 Aug., 1709, at Königsfeld in Upper Bavaria ; d. 11 Oct., 1791, at Ratisbon. After studying the humanities and philosophy at Freising and Ingolstadt, he entered the Benedictine monastery of St. Emmeram at Ratisbon where he took vows on 8 Dec., 1728. He made his theological studies partly at his monastery and partly at Rott, where the Bavarian Benedictines had their common study house. Shortly after his elevation to the priesthood, in 1733, he became professor of philosophy and theology at St. Emmeram and for some time held the office of master of novices. In 1745 he was sent to the Benedictine university at Salzburg to teach philosophy and physics. Two years later he returned to his monastery where he taught philosophy and Holy Scripture until he became librarian and prior in 1750. He had gained an enviable reputation as a philosopher and scientist, and was one of the first religious who endeavoured to reconcile Scholastic philosophy with the Cartesian and the Leibniz-Wolffian school. Though leaning towards the Leibniz-Wolffian philosophy, he rejected many of its teachings, such as the cosmological optimism of Leibniz and the mechanism of Wolff, and was rather an eclectic than a slavish follower of any one system. In 1759 Forster was chosen one of the first members of the newly founded Bavarian academy of sciences. A year later he laid down the office of prior and was appointed provost at Hohengebraching, a dependency of St. Emmeram , situated about five miles south of Ratisbon. On 24 July, 1762, he was elected as successor to the deceased Prince-Abbott Johann Baptist Kraus of St. Emmeram.
Forster's election was the inauguration of the golden era of St. Emmeram. The learned new prince-abbott endeavoured to impart his own love for learning to each of his subjects and offered them every facility to advance in knowledge. During his reign the course given in the natural sciences at St. Emmeram became famous throughout Germany and drew scholars not only from the Benedictine monasteries of Bavaria, but also from the houses of other religious orders. In order to promote the study of Holy Scripture , Forster called the learned Maurist philologist, Charles Lancelot of St-Germain-des-Prés, who instructed the monks of St. Emmeram in Oriental languages from 1 Oct., 1771, to 27 May, 1775. To encourage his young monks still more in their respective studies, he founded a physical, a mineralogical, and a numismatic cabinet and procured the best available literature in the various branches. Forster's chief literary production in his carefully prepared edition of the works of Alcuin which appeared in two folio volumes (4 parts) at Ratisbon in 1777. It is reprinted in the Latin Patrology of Migne (vols. C and C1). He also wrote in Latin five short philosophical treatises and a dissertation on the Vulgate. From a codex preserved in the library of the cathedral chapter at Freising he edited the decrees of the Synod of Aschheim and made a German translation of it for "Abhandlungen der Bayr. Akad. der Wissenschaften" (I,30-60); and from a codex in the library of St. Emmeram he published in Mansi's "Collectio Ampl. Conciliorum" (XIII, 1025-28), the decrees of a Bavarian synod held during the times of the Agilolfings.
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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy 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