Israeli library uploads Newton's theological texts

Feb 15, 2012 By ARON HELLER , Associated Press
Engraving of Isaac Newton based on a 1726 painting by John Vanderbank that was from the frontispiece of a 1726 editiion of Principia, on display on Friday, Oct.8, 2004, at the New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Israel's national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton's writings, has digitized his theological collection, and put it online. The curator of Israel's national library's humanities collection said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a "code" to the natural world. (AP Photo/NY Public Library, File) NO SALES

He's considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Now Israel's national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton's writings, has digitized his theological - some 7,500 pages in Newton's own handwriting - and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton's famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.

Newton revolutionized physics, mathematics and astronomy in the 17th and 18th century, laying the foundations for most of - with the principal of universal gravitation and the three bearing his name.

However, the curator of Israel's national library's humanities collection said Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a "code" to the natural world.

"Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world," said Milka Levy-Rubin. "He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come."

So he learned how to read Hebrew, scrolled through the Bible and delved into the study of Jewish philosophy, the mysticism of Kabbalah and the Talmud - a compendium of Jewish oral law and stories about 1,500 years old.

For instance, Newton based his calculation on the end of days on information gleaned from the Book of Daniel, which projected the apocalypse 1,260 years later. Newton figured that this count began from the crowning of Charlemagne as in the year 800.

The papers cover topics such as interpretations of the Bible, theology, the history of ancient cultures, the Tabernacle and the .

The collection also contains maps that Newton sketched to assist him in his calculations and his attempts to reveal the secret knowledge he believed was encrypted within.

He attempted to project what the end of days would look like, and the role Jews would play when it happened. Newton's objective curiosity in Judaism and the Holy Land contrasted with the anti-Jewish sentiment expressed by many leading Christian scholars of the era, Levy-Rubin said.

"He took a great interest in the Jews, and we found no negative expressions toward Jews in his writing," said Levy-Rubin. "He said the Jews would ultimately return to their land."

How his massive collection of work ended up in the Jewish state seems mystical in its own right.

Years after Newton's death in 1727, his descendants gave his scientific manuscripts to his alma mater, the University of Cambridge.

But the university rejected his nonscientific papers, so the family auctioned them off at Sotheby's in London in 1936. As chance would have it, London's other main auction house - Christie's - was selling a collection of Impressionist art the same day that attracted far more attention.

Only two serious bidders arrived for the Newton collection that day. The first was renowned British economist John Maynard Keynes, who bought Newton's alchemy manuscripts. The second was Abraham Shalom Yahuda - a Jewish Oriental Studies scholar - who got Newton's theological writings.

Yahuda's collection was bequeathed to the National Library of Israel in 1969, years after his death. In 2007, the library exhibited the papers for the first time and now they are available for all to see online.

The collection contains pages after pages of Newton's flowing cursive handwriting on fraying parchment in 18th-century English, with words like "similitudes," "prophetique" and "Whence."

Two print versions in modern typeface are also available for easier reading: A "diplomatic" one that includes changes and corrections Newton made in the original manuscript, and a "clean" version that incorporates the corrections.

All of the papers are linked to the Newton Project, which is hosted by the University of Sussex and includes other collections of Newton's writings.

The Israeli library says the manuscripts help illuminate Newton's science and well as his persona.

"As far as Newton was concerned, his approach was that history was as much a science as physics. His world view was that his 'lab' for understanding history was the holy books," said Levy-Rubin. "His faith was no less important to him than his science."

Explore further: Sniffing out a partner at a London pheromone party

More information: On the Web: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/Humanities/Pages/newton.aspx

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Xbw
3.2 / 5 (18) Feb 15, 2012
Ahh to live in a time when science and religion weren't pitted against each other.
Telekinetic
4.6 / 5 (18) Feb 15, 2012
You must mean before there was a Physorg forum.
Bradford
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2012
^ that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (22) Feb 15, 2012
Ahh to live in a time when science and religion weren't pitted against each other.
That would be back before science existed.
Modernmystic
2.7 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2012
Ahh to live in a time when science and religion weren't pitted against each other.
That would be back before science existed.


That would be an incorrect opinion.
Xbw
2.9 / 5 (17) Feb 15, 2012
Ahh to live in a time when science and religion weren't pitted against each other.
That would be back before science existed.


The pursuit of scientific knowledge to advance our understandings about the workings of our universe is different than the pursuit of scientific proof that God doesn't exist. One is meant for the betterment of all mankind while the other is ideologically motivated.

Personally, I don't care if someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist. Rather than trying to destroy each other, it would make more sense for us to work toward a better understanding of the universe. There is nothing anti religion about that. Except perhaps for Scientologists (is that a word?).
TabulaMentis
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2012
That would be an incorrect opinion.
Astrology is the first thing that comes to mind, but we will see who wins the timeline contest; the astrologers 2012 prediction or Sir Isaac Newton's 2060.
Xbw
2.9 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2012
if the world ends in 2012, Ill be sure to come on physorg and say "we were wrong"...but then again, I'll be dead.
antialias_physorg
2.4 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2012
I don't care if someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist. Rather than trying to destroy each other, it would make more sense for us to work toward a better understanding of the universe.

With the exception of atheists, why not have them destroy each other? It's win-win-win-win. Everyone gets to go to heaven/Nirvana and atheists get to live in the real world. Everyone gets what they ultimately crave.

Where's the down side?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (18) Feb 15, 2012
The pursuit of scientific knowledge to advance our understandings about the workings of our universe is different than the pursuit of scientific proof that God doesn't exist.
? Certainly learning about our environment in order to improve our lot preceded our rejection of such rational pursuits in favor of asking some god to arrange the world in our favor. But as soon as science the formal discipline began to explain the world according to rational experiment and analysis it ran afoul of this god, which is why it was suppressed from the beginning.

Science threatens religion by offering conflicting explanations for natural phenomena; and by providing a much more dependable method of exploring that phenomena than by soothsaying and divining.

Science fundamentally conflicts with religion and it always has. This occurs way way before you get to the issue of whether it can prove god exists or not. It occurs when it quickly begins to unravel religionist doctrine in embarrassing ways.
jsn3604
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2012
I don't care if someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist. Rather than trying to destroy each other, it would make more sense for us to work toward a better understanding of the universe.

With the exception of atheists, why not have them destroy each other? It's win-win-win-win. Everyone gets to go to heaven/Nirvana and atheists get to live in the real world. Everyone gets what they ultimately crave.

Where's the down side?


Well, you get to live in the real world until you die. From that point on, nobody knows for certain what happens.

Hard problem of consciousness
antialias_physorg
3.2 / 5 (13) Feb 15, 2012
Well, you get to live in the real world until you die. From that point on, nobody knows for certain what happens.

Believers seem to know what happens. Who am I to tell them otherwise? If they want to speed up the process of getting there they can be my guest. I really hope they are right and find what they dream of. I truly do.

To them life on Earth is a 'vale of tears', 'trials and tribulations' and whatnot, anyways. Certainly it's MUCH worse than heaven by a long shot. So why be so obsessed with living here if the next place is so much better?

(Funnily suicide, at some point, has been declared a sin in all religions. Just goes to show how much the official interpreters of all belief systems believe in their own religion)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2012
The ONLY reason science was initially given sway is because it was invaluable in defending religion from the onslaught of other religions. Science could provide ways of winning on the battlefield.

If not for this we would all still be farming our little backyard plots in abject poverty, and giving much of what we grew to the church. Or whichever religious institution had been able to win the last war.

Ive been watching the Hitchens movie 'Collision'
http://www.youtub...;list=UL

-What a powerhouse that guy was. What a loss.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (17) Feb 15, 2012
Well, you get to live in the real world until you die. From that point on, nobody knows for certain what happens.
Happens? The world goes on without you. You end.
Hard problem of consciousness
Yes and like the soul, 'consciousness' is another wishful delusion. Another figment of our travail in the Valley of the Shadow.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2012
(Funnily suicide, at some point, has been declared a sin in all religions.
Whered you hear that?

"Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor"
http://en.wikiped.../Seppuku

-Not to mention all the millions and millions of martyrs who flung themselves and their families to certain death willingly at the hand of the enemy so as to be just like their peaceloving godman. 'Into your hands I commend my spirit.'
Eric_B
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
Suicide is murder in Judaism, no question about it.

Since there is reincarnation in Judaism, some claim it is possible that you and your victim might reincarnate and your victim might kill you i a car crash or something like that.

How would you resolve suicide under within this theological system? You wouldn't. You would be worse off than if you had killed someone else, chas v'shalom! (forbid it with peace)
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2012
Whered you hear that?

"Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor"


I didn't know that bushido was a religion. Does it have deities? Temples? Priests? Belief in the supernatural? I don't think so. It's just a code of conduct AFAIK.

Views of religions on suicide:
http://en.wikiped..._suicide

(Jainism does actually permit suicide. I must admit I had never heard of Jainism before)

TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2012
I was hoping you would do a little research yourself but oh well.

"Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity."

A religious warrior caste not unlike shaolin or even sikh.
Suicide is murder in Judaism, no question about it.
Ever hear of masada?

Self-sacrifice is not considered suicide if you do it to please your god. Duh.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2012
Hmm I wonder what god would have to say about this conundrum:

Colombian Priests Hired Hitmen to Kill Themselves

"...But on Tuesday prosecutor Ana Patricia Larrota said investigators had determined that it was suicide by hitmen in the year-old case: the two priests hired gunmen to kill them after Reatiga discovered he had AIDS."

-Where to start? Does this make god sad or just complacent?
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2012
Well, the original post I responded to was talking about Budhism, Christianity and Islam.

That bushido was influenced by something or other doesn't make it a religion. I can find no reference that makes bsuhido an acknowledged religion anywhere.
from the wikipedia link on bushido:
Bushido, while exhibiting the influence of Dao through Zen Buddhism, is a philosophy in contradistinction to religious belief, with a deep commitment to propriety in this world for propriety's sake.

And I'm not sure there are that many samurai around today. I'm certain if you dig into history you'll find some other religions that didn't have much of a view on suicide.

I think we can tolerate the odd person with a sense of personal honor. They're not out to convert (and if failing that: kill) others. That's cool with me.

Note: Confucianism is not a religion but a philosophy.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2012
Note: Confucianism is not a religion but a philosophy.
"Confucianism is not one of the so-called religions. [No! It is something much much better!] Confucius himself deeply believed in Heaven (God) and preached Its Dao which is Way leading human beings to enlightenment, by this one can unite with Heaven, then without any display, one becomes manifested; without any movement, one produces changes, and without any effort, one accomplishes its ends. Confucius' teaching is the holiest teaching of holy teachings, and may be above all the religions and does not conflict with them. He believes that all the people of the world are brothers and sisters under the only one God."
http://terpconnec...gion.htm

-Smells like religion to me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2012
"Confucianism is an ancient Chinese religion named after the well-known philosopher, Confucius, who appeared in the sixth century B.C. He called for the revival of religious values and traditions, which the Chinese had inherited from their forefathers. To these standards, he added his own philosophy and moral values leading to sound behavior. Confucianism is a religion that calls for worshiping the great God of Heaven, consecrating angels and adoring the spirits of the fathers and forefathers."

etc.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 15, 2012
Neo Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism was an attempt to create a more rationalist and secular form of Confucianism by rejecting superstitious and mystical elements of Daoism and Buddhism that had influenced Confucianism during and after the Han Dynasty.[1] Although the Neo-Confucianists were critical of Daoism and Buddhism,[2] the two did have an influence on the philosophy, and the Neo-Confucianists borrowed terms and concepts from both. However, unlike the Buddhists and Daoists, who saw metaphysics as a catalyst for spiritual development, religious enlightenment, and immortality, the Neo-Confucianists used metaphysics as a guide for developing a rationalist ethical philosophy

I hope this clears up a few things.
If you want to call a secular philosophy a religion - fine. But that is just like saying "I'm now saying that 'true' means 'false'". You can do that but it doesn't really further your point.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (13) Feb 15, 2012
Bushido believed in reincarnation:
http://www.youtub...00wcX5SY

-And they were very religious:
"Religion also played a significant role in the lives of the samurai. The three religions practiced by these warriors were Shintoism, Confucianism, and a form of Buddhism called Zen."
http://www.csuchi...urai.htm
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (13) Feb 15, 2012
I hope this clears up a few things.
If you want to call a secular philosophy a religion - fine. But that is just like saying "I'm now saying that 'true' means 'false'". You can do that but it doesn't really further your point.
Sorry, but "worshiping the great God of Heaven, consecrating angels and adoring the spirits of the fathers and forefathers" constitutes religion. Life after death. You think that some adherents claim that his religion is not like all those other religions, somehow makes it so? Their 'philosophy' is no different in substance than any other religious credo.

Prayer/meditation/nirvana/heaven/soul/blah. All the same thing.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Feb 15, 2012
You didnt read far enough:

Cheng-Zhu school - "...the Tao (Chinese: literally "way") of Tian (Chinese: literally "heaven") is expressed in principle or li...li in itself is pure and almost-perfect, but with the addition of qi, base emotions and conflicts arise. Human nature is originally good, the Neo-Confucians argued (following Mencius), but not pure unless action is taken to purify it. The imperative is then to purify one's li."

Born sinless and of heaven but corrupted by corporeal means; one must seek to purify oneself to regain heaven (and improve your karma). Etc. Sounds familiar doesnt it? Wanna bet they have killed to preserve it?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (12) Feb 15, 2012
Yangmingism - "Wang Yangming developed the idea of innate knowing, arguing that every person knows from birth the difference between good and evil. Such knowledge is intuitive and not rational. These revolutionizing ideas of Wang Yangming would later inspire prominent Japanese thinkers like Motoori Norinaga, who argued that because of the Shinto DEITIES, Japanese people alone had the intuitive ability to distinguish good and evil without complex rationalization."

BINGO.
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2012
Religion also played a significant role in the lives of the samurai. The three religions practiced by these warriors were Shintoism, Confucianism, and a form of Buddhism called Zen

You know - a carpenter believing in buddhism doesn't make carpentry a religion.

So let's just sum it up

My blanket statement that ALL religions think suicide is a sin was BS. Only those I was adressing think it's a sin (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). So I should not have said "all religions" but "all those religions". My bad.

Your statement that Bushido is a religion and has any bearing on the discussion at hand is BS.

HTK
3 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2012
Ahh to live in a time when science and religion weren't pitted against each other.
That would be back before science existed.

Ah... Try telling that to a fanataic hell bent on blowing people up...

Some minds cannot be changed period

The pursuit of scientific knowledge to advance our understandings about the workings of our universe is different than the pursuit of scientific proof that God doesn't exist. One is meant for the betterment of all mankind while the other is ideologically motivated.

Personally, I don't care if someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist. Rather than trying to destroy each other, it would make more sense for us to work toward a better understanding of the universe. There is nothing anti religion about that. Except perhaps for Scientologists (is that a word?).

Lurker2358
Feb 15, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Shifty0x88
not rated yet Feb 16, 2012
"Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world," said Milka Levy-Rubin. "He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come."


Most people today call this the: "Bible Code"(Must be the original Hebrew text of course)
kaasinees
0.2 / 5 (25) Feb 16, 2012
"Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world," said Milka Levy-Rubin. "He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come."


Most people today call this the: "Bible Code"(Must be the original Hebrew text of course)

Uhm studying "ancient" texts is a science field. That does not mean the person studying actually has faith in the text. But what to expect from jews?
There are many aspects to "ancient" texts, historical social studies(how have we evolved socially, and what can we learn from these ancient texts?). Then there is of course many other historical aspects you can find in such texts.
_ilbud
3 / 5 (2) Feb 16, 2012
If only Newton hadn't wasted so much time on that crap he could have made even more scientific progress. Fortunately these days no one is distracted by ancient fairy tales.
Telekinetic
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2012
"But what to expect from jews?"-Kaasinees

You can expect a proportionally high number of Nobel prize winners in Math, Science, Physics, Medicine, and Literature. From Kaasinees? NOTHING, but grunts from a skinhead pig with embarrassingly bad syntax. Drop dead.
Xbw
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 16, 2012
I don't care if someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or atheist. Rather than trying to destroy each other, it would make more sense for us to work toward a better understanding of the universe.

With the exception of atheists, why not have them destroy each other? It's win-win-win-win. Everyone gets to go to heaven/Nirvana and atheists get to live in the real world. Everyone gets what they ultimately crave.

Where's the down side?


I am assuming you are an atheist. By wishing for the others to destroy themselves, you are as guilty of the same disregard for others' lifestyles as they are.
kaasinees
0.1 / 5 (23) Feb 16, 2012
You can expect a proportionally high number of Nobel prize winners in Math, Science, Physics, Medicine, and Literature.

And how many of those are orthodox jews? None. And how many of those went with the "jewish flow" so that they could get research grants and a Nobel prize? The majority.

From Kaasinees? NOTHING, but grunts from a skinhead pig with embarrassingly bad syntax. Drop dead.

Skinhead pig? What does that even mean? And you are threatening me with death? :S How come so many people on here are interested in science and are smart enough to oppose religion but yet are defending jewish religion?

And Obama really deserved the Nobel peace prize. Yeah right. No doubt he is jewish.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Feb 16, 2012
Uh testing 1 2 testing...
My blanket statement that ALL religions think suicide is a sin was BS. Only those I was adressing think it's a sin (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). So I should not have said "all religions" but "all those religions". My bad.
You forgot to include your misrepresentation of confucianism as a non-religion? We can extend the religion/philosophy conflation as far as kant and his statement that the 3 big issues in philosophy are god, the soul, and freedom.

As far as 'influence' is concerned; where does 'influence' end and religion begin? Were the black pope and his minions a religious order or a quasi-military order? Initially that is. Not to mention opus dei.
Your statement that Bushido is a religion and has any bearing on the discussion at hand is BS.
'The discussion at hand'. What is that?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (13) Feb 16, 2012
Kant - "Metaphysics has as the proper object of its enquiries three ideas only: God, freedom, and immortality-so related that the second concept when combined with the first, should lead to the third as a necessary conclusion." Kant believes that our goal in life is to strive for the perfect good of happiness proportional to virtue. He says we have to continue to strive for this goal which would not last long with the death of our mortal body. "This infinite progress is possible, however, only under the presupposition of an infinitely enduring existence and personality of the same rational being; this is called the immortality of the soul."

-Smells like religion to me... ala confucianism and worse.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (11) Feb 16, 2012
I am assuming you are an atheist. By wishing for the others to destroy themselves, you are as guilty of the same disregard for others' lifestyles as they are.
Ha! Look whos talking.

"22 May the table set before them become a snare;
may it become retribution and a trap.
23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.
24 Pour out your wrath on them;
let your fierce anger overtake them.
25 May their place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute those you wound
and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime;
do not let them share in your salvation.
28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
and not be listed with the righteous." psm69

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on them." john3

Payback is only moral when god wills it.
kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Feb 17, 2012
Muslims do the same thing as jews. Claim they invented a large part of science and math while it in fact was not arabs are muslims but persians scientists. Anyway not a single idea belongs to one man, all ideas are based are on hundreds of ideas and phenomena before him and at least another man in one point of time had roughly the same idea. This is why intellectual property is pure bullshit.
animah
1 / 5 (2) Feb 18, 2012
And how many of those are orthodox jews? None.

And how many creationists and young earthers have contributed anything to science and progress in the last 100 years? None.

And Obama really deserved the Nobel peace prize. Yeah right. No doubt he is jewish.


Don't worry, you'll get your mormon prez soon enough. He'll manage your country like a multinational company. 300 million employees, generating value for the shareholders. And I'm sure he's so honest, he won't make his "church" one of them.
kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Feb 18, 2012
And how many of those are orthodox jews? None.

And how many creationists and young earthers have contributed anything to science and progress in the last 100 years? None.

And Obama really deserved the Nobel peace prize. Yeah right. No doubt he is jewish.


Don't worry, you'll get your mormon prez soon enough. He'll manage your country like a multinational company. 300 million employees, generating value for the shareholders. And I'm sure he's so honest, he won't make his "church" one of them.

Who are you talking to? I am no mormon and no creationist, you idiot.
OptimalStartup
5 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2012
How Wonderful! Isaac Newton was a man of God!

Somehow I knew this when I studied Sir Isaac in High School, even though many secularist claimed Newton was an atheist; they would use Newton's great contributions in science as an example of what man could do if they did not burden themselves with a belief in God.

How ironic, who else but God could reclaim his servant and clearly say, see what man can become when they come to know their God!

The PBS Special "Newton's Dark Secrets" how revealing... wouldn't it be great if all of us shared "Newton's Dark Secrets" and sought in our mortal probation to understand the application of biblical truths to our personal lives!!!

This is absolutely wonderful... Isaac Newton was a man of God!
No more speculation on this topic... period!!!