The National Library of Israel, which owns Sir Isaac Newton’s manuscripts on theological topics, has put digital copies of all of Newton’s theological writing on the Internet[1]. The manuscripts have been digitally copied and posted on the Internet[2] in co-operation with Cambridge University’s Newton Project and with the support of the David and Fela Shapell Family Foundation. It is now possible not only to access Newton’s works but to actually read what he wrote in his own handwriting.

Newton’s scientific texts are owned by the University of Cambridge in England, but his writings on the Bible and related topics are housed in the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. How this came about is a remarkable story.

Many years after Newton’s death, his descendants offered the University of Cambridge his collection of manuscripts, but the University accepted only those that related to his scientific work, returning all the others. The manuscripts were put up for sale by Sotheby’s auction house in 1936, but an auction of Impressionist art at Christie’s the same day attracted a lot more interest. Only two people, British economist John Maynard Keynes and the Jewish Orientalist and book collector Abraham Shalom Yahuda, attended Sotheby’s auction of Newton’s manuscripts. Keynes bought Newton’s alchemy manuscripts while Yahuda bought Newton’s biblical writings. Yahuda died in 1951, and his collection of Newton’s writings moved to the National Library of Israel. Now they are publicly available on the Internet.

Sir Isaac Newton was born in 1642 and died in 1727. His religious beliefs have been described as “anti-Trinitarian”, and he had to be given a special dispensation to hold his professorship at Cambridge[3]. From his studies of Daniel and Revelation, Newton believed that the prophetical period of 1,260 days/years would end in the year 2060 or later, taking as his starting point 800 AD, the crowning of Charlemagne as Roman emperor in the west[4]. Newton also believed in the resurrection of the body and recognised the role of the Jews in God’s purpose believing that they would return to their ancient homeland before the coming of Christ[5].

Brother John Thomas was familiar with Newton’s work on Bible prophecy but regarded Newton’s commentary on the Apocalypse as “not equal to his reputation”[6]. Still, it is remarkable that the National Library of Israel has drawn the world’s attention to these manuscripts at a time when the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are about to reach their climax with the return of Christ. And the greatest sign of his coming is the State of Israel itself.

[1] Nir Hasson, ‘Israel National Library uploads trove of Newton’s

theological tracts’, Haaretz.com http://www.haaretz.com/printedition/

news/israel-national-library-uploads-trove-of-newtons-

theological-tracts-1.411811?localLinksEnabled=false Latest

update 01:22 09.02.12

[2] http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/mss/newton/

[3] ‘Newton, Sir Isaac’, in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed. 1969,

v.16, p.421

[4] http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/mss/newton/item_eng.

html?pageId=ms44

[5] http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/mss/newton/item_eng.

html?pageId=ms11

[6] Eureka. Dawn, 1968, v. 3, p. v