Lot #198
Isaac Newton Handwritten Manuscript on Religion

This lot has closed

Estimate: $15000+



Important handwritten religious manuscript fragment by Isaac Newton, one page, 7.25 x 1.5, no date but circa 1710. Newton considers the relationship of Christ the Son to God the Father. Newton’s theology had correlations with his physics, and the topic of this present manuscript had significant implications for his theory of gravity—Newton essentially viewed God the Father as the cause of gravity and Christ the Son as the ruling principle of the natural world. For Newton, Christ was different in substance from God and subject to God’s dominion. The 4th-century Church Council of Nicea, which Newton is here studying, ruled that Christ and God were one in substance—a ruling that ran counter to Newton’s own 'heretical' anti-trinitarian religious beliefs—and Newton repeatedly returned to the topic and re-examined it anew. The present manuscript appears to be a section from Newton’s long planned, but unpublished, work on The History of the Church.

In full (translated from Latin): "they are called sons. For these, indeed, are either called Gods for the sake of regeneration, or are called sons because they were considered worthy; but not on account of the one substance which is of the Father and of the Son. We acknowledge the same to be the only-begotten and the first-begotten. But the only-begotten Word, which has always been and is in the Father, is indeed the first-begotten on account of human nature. He excels, however, in the new creation, because he is the firstborn from the dead."

In fine condition, with a light stain touching two words of text. Scholars now increasingly recognize the importance of Newton’s theological views for an understanding of the whole man and his science. Newton himself kept his heretical religious views secret, and his heirs suppressed his manuscripts on theology for 200 years after his death—and they are only now beginning to see the light of day. A profound religious manuscript from the hand of a genius.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Animation
  • Dates: #620 - Ended November 10, 2021

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