The Enigma of Isaac Newton: Scientist, Theologian, Alchemist and Prophet

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1687 one the most important scientific book every written, The Principia, by Isaac Newton, was published. It was a dramatic development in science and moved scientific thought from the medieval era into the modern era. Newton was haled as a genius and the greatest scientist in history and his reputation was jealously guarded. However, at an auction in 1936, the famous British economist, John Maynard Keynes, bought a large proportion of a collection of Newton’s unpublished manuscripts, which had remained in a private collection in the 200 years since Newton death. Keynes later bequeathed these papers to Kings Collage Library, Cambridge. Babson College, Massachusetts and the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem also purchased a significant part of the collection. Other items were scatted all over the world, into private and public collections. There were over a million words on alchemy and the largest bulk of Newton’s unpublished papers; several million words are on theology, many written in Latin. Many of these papers remain un-translated. In these manuscripts it was discovered that there were many sides to Newton, his alchemy and his deeply held (and in the 17th century heretical) religious beliefs would have seen a very different fate for Newton if they were made public as he would have been disgraced and his works shunned. Keynes called him the last sorcerer. This paper examines one aspect of Newton’s sorcerer persona - that of the prophet.

Keywords: Isaac Newton, Religion, Architecture

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.137-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 521.124KB).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Researcher, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Dr Morrison has a background in art, mathematics and philosophy. She is currently working as a researcher in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle and has published extensively on geometric and spatial symbolism.


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