Matter, Jacques

Matter, Jacques a noted French historian and philosopher, was born in Alt-Eckendorf, Alsace, May 31, 1791. His parents were Germans, and, though living under French rule, remained true to the fatherland. Jacques, however, was taught French from his childhood, as he was expected to take a position under the French government. He was intended for the legal profession, and, after enjoying the best educational advantages of private instructors, was sent to the gymnasium at Strasburg, and then entered as a student at the University of Gottingen, Germany, where he enjoyed the instruction and association of Heeren, the noted historian, and Eichhorn, the celebrated Orientalist. He removed to Paris with a diplomatic career in view, attended the lectures of the Faculty of Letters, and wrote his Essai historique sur lecole d'Alexandrie (published in 1820), which, crowned by the academy in 1816, gave him a reputation among those French scholars who were interested in German erudition. By favor of Royer-Collard and Guizot, he received in 1819 a professorship in the College of Strasburg, which he exchanged two years afterwards for the directorship of the gymnasium and the professorship of ecclesiastical history in the Protestant academy of the same city. Applying himself to the study of ecclesiastical history and philosophy, he wrote Histoire critique du Gnosticismze (Paris, 1828, 2 vols. 8vo; 2d ed. 1843-44, 3 vols. 8vo), and Histoire universelle de l'Eglise Chretienne (1829-32, 3 vols.; 2d edit. 1838). In 1828 he was appointed inspector of the Academy of Strasburg, and, in 1831, corresponding member of the Academy of Inscriptions. His treatise De l'influence des sooeurs sur les lois et des lois sur les moeurs (Paris, 1832) received from the academy the extraordinary prize of 10,000 francs. In 1832 he was appointed by Guizot general inspector of the University of Paris, and removed to that city. Among his later productions are, Histoire des doctrines morales et politiques des trois derniers siecles (1836-37, 3 vols.): — De l'affaiblissement des idees et des etudes morales (1841): — Schellig et la philosophie de la nature (1842): — De l'etat morale politique et litteraire de l'Allemagne (1847, 2 vols.): — listoire de la philosophic dans ses rapports avec la religion (1854): -Philosophie de la religion (1857, 2 vols): — Morale, philosophie des moeurs (1860): — St. Martin, philos. inconnu (1862): — Emmnanuel de Swedenborg (1863): — Le Mysticisme en France aux temps de Fenelon (1864). He has also written occasional treatises concerning schools and education, and numerous articles in the Dictionnaire de la conversation and other cyclopaedias. He died at Strasburg June 23, 1864.

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