German rabbi; born at Offenbach July 28, 1808; died there April 24, 1889. After graduating (Ph.D. 1831) from the Giessen University, he settled in his native city as preacher, succeeding Rabbi Metz in 1842; he filled this office until his death. During his long ministry he strove to harmonize the religious and social life of the Jews with the requirements of modern civilization. His aims were expressed at Brunswick, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Breslau, and Cassel in the conferences of the German rabbis. The most important of his works is "Religion des Geistes" (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1841). It contains a systematic analysis of the principles of Judaism. The author endeavors to demonstrate that Judaism was a necessary manifestation, and that its evolution tends in the direction of a universal religion for civilized mankind. Judaism, in contrast with paganism, considers the Divinity to be a Being separate from nature, and allows no doubt of God's existence. Consequently any theogony, any emanation, any dualism must be rejected. Formstecher concludes his work with a history of Judaism which is a valuable contribution to Jewish religious philosophy.

Formstecher's other works are: "Zwölf Predigten," Würzburg, 1833; "Israelitisches Andachtsbüchlein zur Erweiterung und Ausbildung der Ersten Religiösen Gefühle und Begriffe," Offenbach, 1836; "Mosaische Religionslehre," Giessen, 1860; "Buchenstein und Cohnberg," a novel, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1863; "Israel's Klage und Israel's Trost," Offenbach, 1835; "Ueber das Wesen und über den Fortgang der Israelitischen Gottesverehrung." Formstecher contributed to many periodicals, and edited in 1859, in collaboration with L. Stein, the periodical "Der Freitagabend," and in 1861, with K. Klein, the Israelitische Wochenschrift."

  • Kayserling, Bibliothek Jüdischer Kanzelredner, ii. 137.
S. I. Br.
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