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The New International Encyclopædia/Baltzer, Wilhelm Eduard

BALTZER, Wilhelm Eduard (1814-87). A German theologian and leader of the movement known as the Freie Gemeinden, or free religious communities which have sprung up since the middle of the Nineteenth Century in opposition to dogmatic and traditional theology. He was born at Hohenleine, studied at Leipzig and Halle, and entered the Lutheran ministry, but on account of the liberal views which, following Delitzsch, he had adopted, was not looked upon with favor. Consequently, in 1847, he founded a ‘free church’ of his own, and presided over a convention of similar organizations at Nordhausen in the same year. Until 1881 he continued to be a representative leader among them, but lived in retirement at Grotzingen for the last few years of his life, partly occupied in the promotion of vegetarianism, for which he founded an association and an annual publication. His writings were mainly devoted to the propagation of his views; among them are Alte und neue Weltanschauung (1850-59), and Gott, Welt und Mensch (1869).