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Isaac Newton's occult studies

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Rebecca
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« on: August 22, 2007, 01:15:51 pm »



Engraving after Enoch Seeman's 1726 portrait of Newton

Certain (largely unpublished) works of Isaac Newton included much that would now be classified as occult studies. He worked extensively outside the strict bounds of science and mathematics, particularly on chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation (especially of the Apocalypse). Much of his writing on alchemy may have been lost in a fire in his laboratory, so the true extent of his work in this area may have been larger than is currently known. He also suffered a 'nervous breakdown' during his period of alchemical work, which is thought by some due to the psychological transformation that alchemy was originally designed to induce, though there is also speculation it may have been some form of chemical poisoning (possibly from mercury, lead, or some other substance).

In a manuscript he wrote in 1704 in which he describes his attempts to extract scientific information from the Bible, he estimated that the world would end no earlier than 2060. In predicting this he said, "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."

Newton's scientific work may have been of lesser personal importance to him, as he placed emphasis on rediscovering the occult wisdom of the ancients. In this sense, some have commented that the common reference to the "Newtonian Worldview" as being purely mechanistic is somewhat misguided. John Maynard Keynes, for example, opined in 1942 after purchasing and studying Newton's alchemical works that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians."
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Rebecca
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2007, 01:16:41 pm »

Newton's Studies of the Temple of Solomon

Newton was interested in the proportions of the Temple of Solomon and its acoutrements given in 1 Kings because he realized they were math problems related to solutions for π and the volume of a hemispere, V = (2 / 3)πr3. Beyond that he was a man who just liked to calculate a solution to any problem he could conceive of.

Isaac Newton used the works of Villalpando in his architectural studies.

Newton knew that the classical Greeks and Romans like Vituvius believed the proportions of temples were sacred. As an alchemist and natural philospopher he believed the saying that the Philosopher's stone is so named because its hard as stone and malleable as wax refered to a mathematics that related many principles of physics in alchemical relations between elements.

As a Bible scholar Newton was probably interested in the sacred geometry of the temple at first, but later as he ran the numbers came to believe that the dimensions and proportions led to more than just golden sections, conic sections, spirals and other harmonious and beautiful constructions[3] they were references to the size of the earth and man's proportion to it and place in it.

The golden ratio can be expressed as a mathematical constant, usually denoted by the Greek letter φ. The figure of a golden section illustrates the geometric relationship that defines this constant. Expressed algebraically: This equation has as its unique positive solution the algebraic irrational number 1.6181...

Most interesting is that there are still people working on solving the problem so as to evaluate the skills in math and science of the middle bronze age

Newtons occult studies of alchemy were often mathematical in nature. His reasoning expects that since the measures of the Bible are based on the math and science of the Egyptians, their techniques would generally involve the use of unit fractions.
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Rebecca
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2007, 01:19:50 pm »

Newtons Alchemy

Much of what are known as Issac Newton's occult studies can largely be attributed to his study of alchemy. Newton was deeply interested in all forms of natural sciences and material theory, an interest that ultimately would lead to some of his more well known contributions. During Newton's lifetime the study of chemistry was still in its infancy, thereby leading many of his experimental studies to consist of the use of esoteric language and vague terminology more accurately associated with alchemy and occultism. It would be several decades after Newton's death that experiments of stoichiometry under the pioneering works of Antoine Lavoisier were conducted and analytical chemistry, with its associated nomenclature, would come to resemble modern chemistry as we know it today.

Newton's writings suggest that one of the main goals of his alchemy may have been the discovery of The Philosopher's Stone (a material believed to turn base metals into gold), and perhaps to a lesser extant, the discovery of the highly coveted Elixir of Life. There is no evidence to suggest he was successful in either attempt.

Some practices of alchemy were banned in England during Newton's lifetime, perhaps a result of frequent and unscrupulous practitioners who would often promise wealthy benefactors unrealistic results in an attempt to swindle money. The English Crown, also fearing the potential devaluation of gold, should The Philosopher's Stone actually be discovered, made the consequences for such pursuits extremely severe. In some cases the punishment for unsanctioned alchemy would include the public hanging of an offender on a gilded scaffold while adorned with tinsel and other accoutrements. It was for this reason, and the potential scrutiny that he feared from his peers within the scientific community, that Newton may have deliberately left his work on these subjects unpublished. Newton was well known for his inability to handle criticism, such as the numerous instances when he was criticized by Robert Hooke, and his admitted reluctance to publish any substantial information regarding Calculus before 1693. A perfectionist by nature, Newton also refrained from publication of material that he felt was incomplete, as evident from a thirty-eight year gap in time from Newton's alleged conception of Calculus in 1666 and its final full publication in 1704, which would ultimately lead to the infamous Newton vs. Leibniz Calculus Controversy.

In 1936 a collection of Issac Newton's unpublished works were auctioned by Sotheby's auction house. This material consisted of three hundred twenty-nine lots of Newton's manuscripts, of which over a third were filled with content that appeared to be alchemical in nature. At the time of Newton's death this material was considered "unfit to publish" by Newton's estate and consequently fell into obscurity until their somewhat sensational reemergence in 1936. Many of these documents were purchased directly by John Maynard Keynes during the auction, many of those that were purchased by others would also later enter Keynes collection as he purchased them in the following years before his death. Although a large amount of the auctioned material was purchased by Keynes, a majority of it was actually purchased by the eccentric document collector Abraham Yahuda, and eventually would come to be stored in the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, where it still resides today. In recent years several projects have begun to gather, catalogue, and transcribe the fragmented collection of Newton's work on alchemical subjects and make them freely available for online access. Two of these are The Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, and The Newton Project supported by the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Board.

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Rebecca
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2007, 01:20:37 pm »

The Philosopher's Stone

Of the material sold during the 1936 Sotheby's auction several documents indicate an interest by Newton in the procurement or development of The Philosopher's Stone. Most notably are documents entitled, "Artephius his secret Book', followed by The Epistle of Iohn Pontanus, wherein he beareth witness of ye book of Artephius", these are themselves a collection of excerpts from another work with the equally lengthly title of, "Nicholas Flammel, His Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures which he caused to be painted upon an Arch in St Innocents Church-yard in Paris. Together with The secret Booke of Artephius, And the Epistle of Iohn Pontanus: Containing both the Theoricke and the Practicke of the Philosophers Stone". This work may also have been referenced by Newton in its Latin version found within Lazarus Zetzner's, "Theatrum Chemicum", a volume often associated with the Turba Philosophorum and other early European alchemical manuscripts. Nicolas Flamel, (one subject of the aforementioned work) was a notable, though mysterious figure, often associated with the discovery of The Philosopher's Stone, Hieroglyphical Figures, tarot, and occultism.

Also sold during the 1936 auction as a part of Newton's collection was, "The Epitome of the treasure of health written by Edwardus Generosus Anglicus innominatus who lived Anno Domini 1562". This is a twenty-eight page treatise on the Philosopher's Stone, the Animal or Angelicall Stone, the Prospective stone or magical stone of Moses, and the vegetable or the growing stone. The treatise concludes with an alchemical poem.




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Rebecca
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 01:21:31 pm »

Newton's Prophecy

Isaac Newton considered himself to be one of a select group of individuals who were specially chosen by God for the task of understanding Scripture. He was a strong believer in prophetic interpretation of the Bible, and like many of his contemporaries in Protestant England, he developed a strong affinty and deep admiration for the teachings and works of Joseph Mede. Though he would never write a cohesive body of work on Prophecy, his belief would led him to write several treatise on the subject, including an unpublished guide for prophetic interpretation entitled, "Rules for interpreting the words & language in Scripture". In this manuscript he details the necessary requirements for what he considered to be the proper interpretation of the Bible.

In addition, Isaac Newton would spend much of his life seeking and revealing what could be considered a Bible Code. He placed a great deal of emphasis upon the interpretation of the Book of Revelations, writing generously upon this book and authoring several manuscripts detailing his interpretations. Unlike a Prophet in the true sense of the word, Newton relied upon existing Scripture to prophesy for him, believing his interpretations would set the record straight in the face of what he considered to be "so little understood". In 1754, twenty-seven years after his death, Isaac Newton's treatise, "An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture" would be published, and though it does not argue any prophetic meaning, it does exemplify what Newton considered to be just one popular misunderstanding of Scripture.

Although Newton's approach to these studies could not be considered a 'scientific' approach, he did write as if his findings were the result of evidentially-based research.

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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2007, 01:23:11 pm »

2060 A.D.

In late February and early March of 2003 a large amount of media attention circulated around the globe regarding largely unknown and unpublished documents, evidently written by Isaac Newton, indicating that he believed the world would end no earlier than 2060 AD. The story garnered vast amounts of public interest and found its way onto the front page of several widely distributed newspapers including, The London Daily Telegraph, Canada's National Post, Israel's Maariv and Yediot Aharonot, and would also be featured in an article in the scientific journal, Nature. Television and Internet stories in the following weeks would heighten the exposure and ultimately would include the production of several documentary films focused upon the topic of the 2060 prediction and some of Newton's less well known beliefs and practices. The juxtaposition of Newton, popularly seen by some as the embodiment of scientific rationality with a seemingly irrational prediction of the "end of the world", would invariably lend itself to cultural sensationalism.

The two documents detailing this prediction are currently housed within the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem.[8] Both were believed to be written toward the end of Newton's life, in or after 1705, a time frame most notably established by the use of the full title of Sir Isaac Newton within portions of the documents.

It should be stressed that both of these documents do not appear to have been written with the intention of publication and that Isaac Newton expressed a strong personal dislike for individuals who provided specific dates for the Apocalypse purely for sensational value. Furthermore, it should also be noted that Newton at no time provides a specific date for the end of the world in either of these documents.

To understand the reasoning behind the 2060 prediction, an understanding of Newton's theological beliefs should be taken into account, particularly his antitrinitarian beliefs and those negative views he held about the Papacy. Both of these lay essential to his calculations, which ultimately would provide the 2060 AD time frame. See Isaac Newton's religious views for more details.

The first document, part of the Yahuda collection cataloged as Yahuda MS 7.3o, f. 8r., is a small letter slip on the back of which is written haphazardly the following in Newton's hand:

"Prop. 1. The 2300 prophetick days did not commence before the rise of the little horn of the He Goat.
2 Those day [sic] did not commence a[f]ter the destruction of Jerusalem & ye Temple by the Romans A.[D.] 70.
3 The time times & half a time did not commence before the year 800 in wch the Popes supremacy commenced
4 They did not commence after the re[ig]ne of Gregory the 7th. 1084
5 The 1290 days did not commence b[e]fore the year 842.
6 They did not commence after the reigne of Pope Greg. 7th. 1084
7 The diffence [sic] between the 1290 & 1335 days are a parts of the seven weeks.
Therefore the 2300 years do not end before ye year 2132 nor after 2370.
The time times & half time do n
  • t end before 2060 nor after [2344]
The 1290 days do not begin [this should read: end] before 2090 nor after 1374 [sic; Newton probably means 2374]"


The second reference to the 2060 prediction can be found in a folio cataloged as Yahuda MS 7.3g, f. 13v, in which Newton writes:

"So then the time times & half a time are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & an half, recconing twelve months to a yeare & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calendar of the primitive year. And the days of short lived Beasts being put for the years of lived [sic for “long lived”] kingdoms, the period of 1260 days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.C. 800, will end A.C. 2060. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner. This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fancifull men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, & by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail. Christ comes as a thief in the night, & it is not for us to know the times & seasons wch God hath put into his own breast."

Clearly Newton's mathematical prediction of the end of the world is one derived from his interpretation of not only Scripture, but also one based upon his theological viewpoint regarding specific chronological dates and events as he saw them.

It should also be noted that Newton may not have been referring to the 2060 date as a destructive act resulting in the annihilation of the globe and its inhabitants, but rather one in which he believed the world, as he saw it, was to be replaced with a new one based upon a transition to a era of divinely inspired peace. In Christian and Islamic theology this concept is often referred to as The Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of The Kingdom of God on Earth. In a separate manuscript cataloged as Yahuda MS 7.2a, f. 31r., Isaac Newton paraphrases Revelation 21 and 22 and relates the events which follow the 2060 event by writing:

"A new heaven & new earth. New Jerusalem comes down from heaven prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. The marriage supper. God dwells wth men wipes away all tears from their eyes, gives them of ye fountain of living water & creates all thin things new saying, It is done. The glory& felicity of the New Jerusalem is represented by a building of Gold & Gemms enlightened by the glory of God & ye Lamb & watered by ye river of Paradise on ye banks of wch grows the tree of life. Into this city the kings of the earth do bring their glory & that of the nations & the saints raign for ever & ever."
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2007, 01:23:56 pm »

Newton's Chronology

Isaac Newton wrote extensively upon the historical topic of Chronology. In 1728 he penned "The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms", an approximately 87,000 word composition that details the rise and history of various ancient kingdoms. Around 1701 he also produced a thirty page unpublished treatise entitled, "The Original of Monarchies" detailing the rise of several Monarchs throughout antiquity and tracing them back to the biblical figure of Noah
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