Israeli library uploads Newton’s theological texts

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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.”

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

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