BAUMGARTEN, MICHAEL (1812-1889), German Protestant theologian, was born at Haseldorf in Schleswig-Holstein on the 25th of March 1812. He studied at Kiel University (1832), and became professor ordinarius of theology at Rostock (1850). A liberal scholar, he became widely known in 1854 through a work, Die Nachtgesichte Sacharjas. Eine Prophetenstimme aus der Gegenwart, in which, starting from texts in the Old Testament and assuming the tone of a prophet, he discussed topics of every kind. At a pastoral conference in 1856 he boldly defended evangelical freedom as regards the legal sanctity of Sunday. This, with other attempts to liberalize religion, brought him into conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities of Mecklenburg, and in 1858 he was deprived of his professorship. He then travelled throughout Germany, demanding justice, telling the story of his life (Christliche Selbstgespräche, 1861), and lecturing on the life of Jesus (Die Geschichte Jesu. Für das Verständniss der Gegenwart, 1859). In 1865 he helped to found the Deutsche Protestantenverein, but withdrew from it in 1877. On several occasions (1874, 1877 and 1878) he sat in the Reichstag as a member of the progressive party. He died on the 21st of July 1889. Other works: Apostelgeschichte oder Entwicklungsgang der Kirche van Jerusalem bis Rom (2 vols. 2nd ed., 1859), and Doktor Martin Luther, ein Volksbuch (1883).
H.H. Studt published his autobiography in 1891 (2 vols.); see also C. Schwartz, Neueste Theologie (1869); Lichtenberger, Hist. Germ. Theol., 1889; Calwer-Zeller, Kirchen-Lexikon.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)