Newton and Chronology

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This article details Isaac Newton’s studies of chronology, which resulted in the posthumously published Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended. In the Chronology, Newton employed methods from genealogy and astronomy to provide a much-contracted history of the Mediterranean world that fitted into the time allowed for by Scripture. Originally a single treatise, “Theologiae Gentilis Origines Philosophicae,” discussing the Egyptian origins of star worship and how all ancient mythology could be mapped onto Noah and his progeny, it soon evolved into a multi-chapter work, the “Originals,” which included chapters like “The Original of Religions” and “The Original of Monarchies.” Together with chapters on the history of the monarchies that reigned over Babylon during the Jewish Exile, the “Originals” became the Chronology; but its editorial history demonstrates how Newton’s interest in chronology was motivated by his desire to correctly interpret the apocalyptic prophecies in Scripture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Newton
EditorsEric Schliesser, Chris Smeenk
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


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