Isaac Newton calculates the end....

wil

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Papers show Isaac Newton's religious side

In one manuscript from the early 1700s, Newton used the cryptic Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the apocalypse, reaching the conclusion that the world would end no earlier than 2060.

"It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner," Newton wrote. However, he added, "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."

In another document, Newton interpreted biblical prophecies to mean that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the world ends. The end of days will see "the ruin of the wicked nations, the end of weeping and of all troubles, the return of the Jews captivity and their setting up a flourishing and everlasting Kingdom," he posited.

The exhibit also includes treatises on daily practice in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. In one document, Newton discussed the exact dimensions of the temple -- its plans mirrored the arrangement of the cosmos, he believed -- and sketched it. Another paper contains words in Hebrew, including a sentence taken from the Jewish prayerbook.
Seems he was plagued with those saying the end was near...

I also remember reading him using the bible to work on alchemy...

and some other unconventional/heretical notions....
 
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Thanks for the link wil. Missed that one.

Yeah, Newton's thinking was heavily influenced by mysticism and alchemy. He was a devotee' of the famous alchemist George Stirk ( think that was his name ) and many of his original thought puzzles were originated by visualizing the aspects of the problems before he worked out the math.

flow....;)
 
The article was very interesting, thanks!

I have to say, in support of Newton, and alchemists in general, that before roughly 1700, alchemy was considered a reputable profession, and alchemists highly prized by rulers of various nations. They prized experimental method (at least since Geber) and invented much of the equipment and many reactions still used today. Experimental method was frequently considered suspect as the results of experiment could challenge accepted views. At least in Europe, Aristotle was still taught in schools as an authority on science, until roughly Newton's time. Alchemists, even those who came up with successful methodology based on experiment, frequently wrote their results in code to avoid the interpretation of their results by those who might find the discovery of new knowledge challenging accepted beliefs offensive.

Geber, the father of chemistry, was one such alchemist who wrote in code. The name 'gibberish' is thought to be a reference to his writing style, but it was a deliberate code and supposedly could be understood by other alchemists. The trend continued until at least the 1600's. I don't know much about alchemy after that. Geber was eventually executed.

A lot of scientists were executed, back in the day, I guess.

What the rulers wanted from the alchemists were tangible results. The transmutation of lead into gold was probably just an attempt by alchemists to find funding for their expensive experiments. But many of them did discover things which were useful.

I only started reading about alchemy after a dream I had which lead me to investigate Michael Sendivogius, who it turns out, discovered a method of chemically synthesizing oxygen. He didn't know what it was exactly and called it 'elixir vitae' but knew it was essential for life and discovered that animals could be kept alive under an airtight glass bell by chemical creation of oxygen. He taught the method to an alchemist an inventor who used it on his own invention, the submarine.

So alchemists are thought of as unreputable and having produced few useful results by most folks today, but I found out after researching a bit that it's not really true. It's just that nobody can understand a darn word of what they wrote because everything was deliberately written as gibberish ala' Geber.
 
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