Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. Of course, some would argue that distinction belongs to Albert Einstein.
Newton’s 1687 monograph Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, lays the foundations for most of classical mechanics. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries.
Newton was not just a physicist. He was a polymath — mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. Among his writings are as-yet unpublished manuscripts on theology, the Bible, alchemy, and his calculations on the end times.
He also meticulously recorded his sins — a word and concept lost to our “do-as-I-will” times. Newton’s list of his sins from the year 1662, when he was 20 years old, included:
Using the word (God) openly 1
Eating an apple at Thy house 2
Making a feather while on Thy day 3
Denying that I made it. 4
Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to pick him. 10
Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons 11
Refusing to go to the close at my mothers command. 12
Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them 13
Wishing death and hoping it to some 14
Striking many 15
Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese. 16
Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer 17
Denying that I did so 18
Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it 19
Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee 20
A relapse 21
A relapse 22
Punching my sister 24
Robbing my mothers box of plums and sugar 25
Calling Dorothy Rose a jade 26
Glutiny [gluttony?] in my sickness. 27
Peevishness with my mother. 28
With my sister. 29
Falling out with the servants 30
Idle discourse on Thy day and at other times 32
Not turning nearer to Thee for my affections 33
Not living according to my belief 34
Not loving Thee for Thy self. 35
Not loving Thee for Thy goodness to us 36
Now you can read Newton’s unpublished manuscripts online! — on the website of the National Library of Israel.
So if you have many hours and days to spare, you’ve got your work cut out for you. LOL
Newton’s diligence and precision is reflected in this research in the same manner it is reflected in his scientific work, and he regarded this science with the same religious fervor that made him see himself as a kind of prophet.
The National Library’s collection of the Newton Papers is now available to the general public in digital format. All of the papers are also linked to the Newton Project, where they are presented in two versions: a ‘diplomatic’ version that includes all the changes and corrections as they appear in the original manuscript, and a ‘clean’ version that enables a continuous reading of the text.
For the digital collection, click here.