10.0548 Newton for Christmas

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 26 Dec 1996 09:18:42 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 548.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu (27)
Subject: December 25 -- Today in the Historical Sciences


1642: ISAAC NEWTON is born at Woolsthorpe, England. Following study at
Cambridge University, from which he will graduate in 1665, Newton will make
revolutionary breakthroughs in astronomy and mathematics, and after his death
in 1727 he will be remembered as the principal founder of modern physical
science. Newton's work in physics, however, will constitute only a fraction
of his output, and he will devote almost as much time to studies of Biblical
chronology as to mathematics. Believing that the ancient Temple of Solomon
was a divinely-inspired model of the cosmos as a whole, Newton will teach
himself Hebrew and attempt to calculate the exact length of the ancient cubit
so that he can reconstruct the Temple's plan from Ezekiel's description of it
in the Bible. Among Newton's many historical writings will be _The Chronology
of Ancient Kingdoms Amended: To Which is Prefix'd, A Short Chronicle from the
First Memory of Things in Europe, to the Conquest of Persia by Alexander the
Great_ (London, 1728), and also _The Original of Monarchies_: "Now all nations
before they began to keep exact accompts of time have been prone to raise
their antiquities & make the lives of their first fathers longer than they
really were. And this humour has been promoted by the ancient contention
between several nations about their antiquity. For this made the Egyptians &
Chaldeans raise their antiquities higher than the truth by many thousands of
years. And the seventy have added to the ages of the Patriarchs. And Ctesias
has made the Assyrian Monarchy above 1400 years older than the truth. The
Greeks & Latins are more modest in their own originals but yet have exceeded
the truth."

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