Orientalist and member of the Académie des belles-lettres. Studied theology at the Sorbonne. Continued his studies at the Dutch Jansenist seminaries of Rhijnberg and Amersfoort (1751- 1752). Went to India in 1755 to study the works of Zoroaster. Sailed home aboard an English vessel, arrived in Portsmouth, and was jailed as a prisoner of war (1761). Following his release, he remained in England to study Zoroastrian manuscripts at Oxford. Returned to Paris (March 1762).
His translation of the writings of Zoroaster, Zend-Avesta, ouvrage de Zoroastre … (3 vols., Paris, 1771), a work that Franklin recommended to Ezra Stiles (January 1772), was severely criticized by many of the author’s contemporaries, including Grimm, Diderot, and Voltaire. In 1779, he sent Franklin a copy of his Législation orientale, ou le Despotisme considéré dans les trois états: la Turquie, la Perse et l’Indoustan (Amsterdam, 1778).
Born in Paris.