Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hidden Spectrum of New Age ideas found in Sir Isaac Newton's secret journals

Sir Isaac Newton's colorful private notebooks went on display in Jerusalem this weekend, at the Jewish National library at Hebrew University. Scholarly jaws are dropping. The celebrated scientist who sussed out gravity three centuries ago reckoned that the end of the world won't come before 2060, and went on to suggest that the world may keep whirling long after that carefully calculated date. So take a deep breath and relax. We may live in interesting and perilous times, but apparently we have at least 53 more years before nuclear apocalypse or the resource-depleted planet sputters out, according to this renowned physicist.

"Newton's Secrets", archived in Israel since 1969 and bought at auction from his heirs in 1936, are on general public view for the first time. They include arcane theological calculations, based on decoding prophecies in the Book of Daniel. Puzzling over the phrase "for a time, times, and a half," Newton concluded that it signals 1,260 years would pass from the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne in 800, until the End of Days.

Yemima Ben-Menachem, a philosopher at Hebrew University, is one of the exhibit's curators and explained that not all Newton's musings are strictly rationalist: "For a long time, Newton was regarded only as a great scientist and mathematician. These writings lay in crates... but today we're in the New Age period, and scholars are more open to manuscripts like these. During the scientific revolution, religion and science were entwined with each other. Newton was also a very religious man and, as opposed to other learned people of his day, he even believed in a personal God."
He also was a keen alchemist, though this gold obsession was underplayed by many of his scholarly acolytes.

Newton decoded ancient texts to predict that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the apocalypse. The end will bring

"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 wrote.

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