Maurice, Antoine (1), a French Protestant theologian and Orientalist, was born at Eyguieres, in Provence, Sept. 27, 1679. He belonged to a Provencal family which had embraced the Reformed religion in the 16th century, and furnished many pastors to the churches of the south. When the revocation of the Edict of Nantes forced his father to retire to Geneva, he was not permitted to follow him, and remained for some time in the hands of priests, who hoped to educate him to the service of the Church of Rome. Two officers, friends of his family, coming to his aid, he succeeded finally in escaping the vigilance of his guardians and arrived at Vienna; being denounced during a halt, he fled alone, and arrived on foot at Bourg in Bresse (1686). Although it was in the middle of winter, he resumed his route with a faithful servant, and, after having wandered in the mountains of Jura, he succeeded in reaching Basle, from whence he was conducted to Geneva in a pitiable condition. He was then only nine years old. Consecrated to the ministry, he entered it in 1697, at Geneva, where, in 1704, he assumed pastoral duty. Gifted with a happy memory and great talent for the study of languages, he learned the greater part of the Oriental idioms, and perfected himself by speaking them fluently with a rabbi and priest from the Levant whom he had invited to his house. He was also fond of the sciences, and abandoned the system of Des Cartes for that of Newton, of whom he became a zealous partisan. In 1710 he was elected professor of belles- lettres and of history in the Academy of Geneva, later he taught the Oriental languages, and after 1724 theology. He was twice called to the rectorship. In 1713 he was made a member of the Royal Society of the Sciences of Berlin, on the proposition of Leibnitz. Maurice died in Geneva Aug. 20, 1756. Of his works we have an edition of the Rationarium Temporum du P. Petan, with notes (Geneva, 1721, 3 vols. 8vo): — twelve Sermons (ibid. 1722, 8vo): — twenty different dissertations, among others,
De Conscientia (1725-1734, 4to): — De Resurrectione Jesu Christi (1734-1763): — Jus examinis (1740, fol): — De Suicidio (1756, 8vo). His scientific and philological works have not been published. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.