- Isaac Newton's occult studies
Isaac Newton(1643 – 1727), the noted British scientist and mathematician, wrote many works that would now be classified as occultstudies.
These occult works explored
chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation (especially of the Apocalypse).
Newton's scientific work may have been of lesser personal importance to him, as he placed emphasis on rediscovering the occult wisdom of the ancients. In this sense, some have commented that the common reference a "Newtonian Worldview" as being purely mechanistic is somewhat inaccurate. After purchasing and studying Newton's alchemical works in 1942, economist
John Maynard Keynes, for example, opined that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians."
However, it should be noted that in the pre-
Modern Eraof Newton's lifetime, the educated embraced a world viewdifferent from that of later centuries. Distinctions taken for granted today – such as between science, superstition, and pseudoscience– were still being formulated, and a devoutly Christian Biblical perspective permeated Western culture.
Newton's alchemical research and writings
Much of what are known as Isaac Newton's occult studies can largely be attributed to his study of
Newton was deeply interested in all forms of
natural sciencesand material theory, an interest that ultimately would lead to some of his better-known contributions to science. During Newton's lifetime the study of chemistrywas still in its infancy, thereby leading many of his experimental studies to consist of the use of esoteric language and vague terminology more accurately associated with alchemyand occultism. It would be several decades after Newton's death that experiments of stoichiometryunder the pioneering works of Antoine Lavoisierwere conducted and analytical chemistry, with its associated nomenclature, would come to resemble modern chemistryas we know it today.
Much of Newton's writing on alchemy may have been lost in a fire in his laboratory, so the true extent of his work in this area may have been larger than is currently known. Newton also suffered a
nervous breakdownduring his period of alchemical work, which is thought by some due to the psychological transformation that alchemy was originally designed to induce, though there is also speculation it may have been some form of chemical poisoning (possibly from mercury, lead, or some other substance).
Newton's writings suggest that one of the main goals of his alchemy may have been the discovery of The
Philosopher's Stone(a material believed to turn base metals into gold), and perhaps to a lesser extent, the discovery of the highly coveted Elixir of Life.cite video | people = Nova: Newton's Dark Secrets | title = [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/newton/] | publisher = PBS | location = USA | date = 2005 ]
Some practices of alchemy were banned in
Englandduring Newton's lifetime, due in part to unscrupulous practitioners who would often promise wealthy benefactors unrealistic results in an attempt to swindle money. The English Crown, also fearing the potential devaluation of gold, should The Philosopher's Stoneactually be discovered, made penalties for alchemy very severe. In some cases the punishment for unsanctioned alchemy would include the public hanging of an offender on a gilded scaffold while adorned with tinsel and other items. It was for this reason, and the potential scrutiny that he feared from his peers within the scientific community, that Newton may have deliberately left his work on alchemical subjects unpublished. Newton was well known as being highly sensitive to criticism, such as the numerous instances when he was criticized by Robert Hooke, and his admitted reluctance to publish any substantial information regarding Calculusbefore 1693. A perfectionist by nature, Newton also refrained from publication of material that he felt was incomplete, as evident from a thirty-eight year gap in time from Newton's alleged conception of Calculusin 1666 and its final full publication in 1704, which would ultimately lead to the infamous Newton vs. Leibniz Calculus Controversy.
In 1936, a collection of Isaac Newton's unpublished works were auctioned by
Sotheby'son behalf of Gerard Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth, who had inherited them from Newton's great-niece. Known as the "Portsmouth Papers", this material consisted of three hundred twenty-nine lots of Newton's manuscripts, over a third of which were filled with content that appeared to be alchemical in nature. At the time of Newton's death this material was considered "unfit to publish" by Newton's estate, and consequently fell into obscurity until their somewhat sensational reemergence in 1936. [cite web
last = Newman
first = William R.
title = Newton and Alchemy
publisher = The Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project
url = http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/about.do
accessdate = 2007-08-12 ]
At the auction many of these documents were purchased by economist
John Maynard Keynes, who throughout his life, collected many of Newton's alchemical writings. Much of the Keynes collection later passed to eccentric document collector Abraham Yahuda, who was himself a vigorous collector of Isaac Newton's original manuscripts.
Many of the documents collected by Keynes and Yahuda are now in the
Jewish National and University Libraryin Jerusalem. In recent years, several projects have begun to gather, catalogue, and transcribe the fragmented collection of Newton's work on alchemical subjects and make them freely available for online access. Two of these are [http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/index.jsp The Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project] supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, and [http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/prism.php?id=1 The Newton Project] supported by the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Board. In addition, The Jewish National and University Library has published a number of high-quality scanned images of various Newton documents [ [http://www.jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/mss/newton/gallery_eng.html gallery] ] .
The Philosopher's Stone
Of the material sold during the 1936 Sotheby's auction, several documents indicate an interest by Newton in the procurement or development of The
Philosopher's Stone. Most notably are documents entitled, "Artephius his secret Book", followed by "The Epistle of Iohn Pontanus, wherein he beareth witness of ye book of Artephius", these are themselves a collection of excerpts from another work entitled, "Nicholas Flammel, His Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures which he caused to be painted upon an Arch in St Innocents Church-yard in Paris. Together with The secret Booke of Artephius, And the Epistle of Iohn Pontanus: Containing both the Theoricke and the Practicke of the Philosophers Stone". This work may also have been referenced by Newton in its Latin version found within Lazarus Zetzner's, " Theatrum Chemicum", a volume often associated with the Turba Philosophorumand other early European alchemical manuscripts. Nicolas Flamel, (one subject of the aforementioned work) was a notable, though mysterious figure, often associated with the discovery of The Philosopher's Stone, Hieroglyphical Figures, early forms of tarot, and occultism. Artephius, and his "secret book", were also subjects of interest to 17th Century alchemists.
Also in the 1936 auction of Newton's collection was, "The Epitome of the treasure of health written by Edwardus Generosus Anglicus innominatus who lived Anno Domini 1562". This is a twenty-eight page treatise on the
Philosopher's Stone, the Animal or Angelicall Stone, the Prospective stone or magical stone of Moses, and the vegetable or the growing stone. The treatise concludes with an alchemical poem.
In a manuscript he wrote in 1704 in which he describes his attempts to extract scientific information from the Bible, Newton estimated that the world would end no earlier than
2060. In predicting this he said, "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail." [cite web | title = Papers Show Isaac Newton's Religious Side, Predict Date of Apocalypse | publisher = The Associated Press | date=19 June 2007 | url = http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070619/28049_Papers_Show_Isaac_Newton%27s_Religious_Side%2C_Predict_Date_of_Apocalypse.htm| accessdate=2007-08-01]
Newton's studies of the Temple of Solomon
Newton studied and wrote extensively upon the
Temple of Solomon, dedicating an entire chapter of " The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms" to his observations regarding the temple. Newton's primary source for information was the description of the structure given within 1 Kingsof the Hebrew Bible, which he translated himself from the original Hebrew.cite web | last =Richman | first =Rabbi Chaim | coauthors =Temple Institute | title =Temple Institute: Issac Newton and the Holy Temple | publisher =Temple Institute | date =1991-2008 | url =http://www.templeinstitute.org/isaac_newton_holy_temple.htm | format =HTML | accessdate =07/01/2008 ]
In addition to scripture, Newton also relied upon various ancient and contemporary sources while studying the temple. He believed that many ancient sources were endowed with sacred wisdom and that the
proportionsof many of their temples were in themselves sacred. This belief would lead Newton to examine many architectural works of Hellenistic Greece, as well as Roman sources such as Vitruvius, in a search for their occult knowledge. This concept, often termed " prisca sapientia" (sacred wisdom), was a common belief of many scholars during Newton's lifetime.Citation | last =Christianson | first =Gale E. | publication-date =2005 | title =Isaac Newton | publisher =Oxford University Press US | pages =144 | isbn =019530070X | url =http://books.google.com/books?id=lwcDZ0Ex4lYC | accessdate =07-04-2008 ]
A more contemporary source for Newton's studies of the temple was
Juan Bautista Villalpando, who just a few decades earlier had published an influential manuscript entitled, "Ezechielem Explanationes", in which Villalpando comments on the visions of the biblical prophet Ezekiel, including within this work his own interpretations and elaborate reconstructions of Solomon's Temple. In it's time, Villalpando's work on the temple produced a great deal of interest throughout Europe and had a significant impact upon later architects and scholars. [Goldish. Page 91.] cite web | last =MacDonnell | first =Joseph | title =Juan Bautista Villalpando, S.J. | publisher =Fairfield University | url =http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/sj/scientists/villalpando.htm | format =HTML | accessdate =07/01/2008 ]
As a Bible scholar, Newton was initially interested in the
sacred geometryof Solomon's Temple, such as golden sections, conic sections, spirals, orthographic projection, and other harmonious constructions, but he also believed that the dimensions and proportions represented more. He noted that the temple's measurements given in the Bible are mathematical problems, related to solutions for and the volume of a hemisphere, , and in a larger sense that they were references to the size of the earthand man's place and proportion to it.fix|link=Wikipedia:Citation_needed|text=cite needed
Newton believed that the temple was designed by
King Solomonwith privileged eyes and divine guidance. To Newton, the geometry of the temple represented more than a mathematical blueprint, it also provided a time-frame chronology of Hebrew history.Citation | last =Gardner | first =Laurence | publication-date =2007 | date = | year = | title =The Shadow of Solomon: The Lost Secret of the Freemasons Revealed | publication-place =Originally published: London : HarperElement, 2005 | place =USA | publisher =Weiser | pages =408 | page =146 | isbn =1578634040 | url =http://books.google.com/books?id=JTPcRXdUahQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Shadow+of+Solomon&sig=ACfU3U2BKhEwRSjYHjGolo2_x05P09Gj_A | accessdate =07/04/2008 ] It was for this reason that he included a chapter devoted to the temple within "The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms", a section which initially may seem unrelated to the historical nature of the book as a whole.
Newton felt that just as the writings of ancient philosophers, scholars, and Biblical figures contained within them unknown sacred wisdom, the same was true of their architecture. He believed that these men had hidden their knowledge in a complex code of symbolic and mathematical language that, when deciphered, would reveal an unknown knowledge of how nature works.
In 1675 Newton annotated a copy of "Manna - a disquisition of the nature of alchemy", an anonymous treatise which had been given to him by his fellow scholar
Ezekiel Foxcroft. In his annotation Newton reflected upon his reasons for examining Solomon's Temple by writing:
During Newton's lifetime interest in the Temple of Solomon was enthusiastic in Europe, largely due to the success of Villalpando's publications, but also added to by a vogue of detailed
engravings and physical models presented in various galleries for public viewing. In 1628, Judah Leon Temploproduced a model of the temple and surrounding Jerusalem, which was somewhat popular in its day. Later, around 1692, Gerhard Schott produced a highly detailed model of the temple for use in an opera in Hamburg composed by Christian Heinrich Postel. This immense thirteen foot high and eighty foot around model was later sold in 1725 and featured on display in London as early as 1723, and then later temporarily installed at the London Royal Exchangefrom 1729-1730, where is could be viewed for half-a-crown. Sir Isaac Newton's most comprehensive work on the temple, found within "The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms", was published posthumously in 1728, only adding to the public interest in the temple.cite web | last =Crawley | first =W. J. Chetwode | title =Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon. The Models of the Temple and the English Craft | publisher = Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. | url =http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/aqc/leon.html | format = HTML | accessdate =07/04/2008 ]
Newton considered himself to be one of a select group of individuals who were specially chosen by God for the task of understanding Biblical scripture. [cite web
title = Newton's Views on Prophecy
publisher = The Newton Project
url = http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/prism.php?id=74
accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] He was a strong believer in prophetic interpretation of the
Bible, and like many of his contemporaries in Protestant England, he developed a strong affinity and deep admiration for the teachings and works of Joseph Mede. Though he never wrote a cohesive body of work on Prophecy, Newton's belief led him to write several treatise on the subject, including an unpublished guide for prophetic interpretation entitled, "Rules for interpreting the words & language in Scripture". In this manuscript he details the necessary requirements for what he considered to be the proper interpretation of the Bible.
In addition, Newton would spend much of his life seeking and revealing what could be considered a
Bible Code. He placed a great deal of emphasis upon the interpretation of the Book of Revelation, writing generously upon this book and authoring several manuscripts detailing his interpretations. Unlike a prophetin the true sense of the word, Newton relied upon existing Scripture to prophesy for him, believing his interpretations would set the record straight in the face of what he considered to be "so little understood". [cite web
last = Newton
first = Isaac
title = The First Book Concerning the Language of the Prophets
publisher = The Newton Project
url = http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/texts/viewtext.php?id=THEM00005&mode=normalized
accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] In 1754, twenty-seven years after his death, Isaac Newton's treatise, "
An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture" would be published, and though it does not argue any prophetic meaning, it does exemplify what Newton considered to be just one popular misunderstanding of Scripture.
Although Newton's approach to these studies could not be considered a 'scientific' approach, he did write as if his findings were the result of evidentially-based research.
In late February and early March 2003, a large amount of media attention circulated around the globe regarding largely unknown and unpublished documents, evidently written by Isaac Newton, indicating that he believed the world would end no earlier than 2060 AD. The story garnered vast amounts of public interest and found its way onto the front page of several widely distributed newspapers including, Britain's
Daily Telegraph, Canada's National Post, Israel's Maarivand Yediot Aharonot, and was also be featured in an article in the scientific journal, Nature.cite web
last = Snobelen
first = Stephen D
title = A time and times and the dividing of time: Isaac Newton, the Apocalypse and 2060 A.D.
url = http://www.isaac-newton.org/newton_2060.htm
accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] Television and Internet stories in the following weeks heightened the exposure and ultimately would include the production of several documentary films focused upon the topic of the 2060 prediction and some of Newton's less well known beliefs and practices. The juxtaposition of Newton, popularly seen by some as the embodiment of scientific rationality with a seemingly irrational prediction of the "end of the world", would invariably lend itself to cultural sensationalism.
The two documents detailing this prediction are currently housed within the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem. Both were believed to be written toward the end of Newton's life, in or after 1705, a time frame most notably established by the use of the full title of "Sir" Isaac Newton within portions of the documents.
These documents do not appear to have been written with the intention of publication and Isaac Newton expressed a strong personal dislike for individuals who provided specific dates for the
Apocalypsepurely for sensational value. Furthermore, Newton at no time provides a specific date for the end of the world in either of these documents.
To understand the reasoning behind the 2060 prediction, an understanding of Newton's theological beliefs should be taken into account, particularly his apparent
antitrinitarianbeliefs and his religious views on the Papacy. Both of these lay essential to his calculations, which ultimately would provide the 2060 AD time frame. See Isaac Newton's religious viewsfor more details.
The first document, part of the Yahuda collection [Yahuda MS 7.3o, f. 8r] , is a small letter slip, on the back of which is written haphazardly in Newton's hand:
Prop. 1. The 2300 prophetick days did not commence before the rise of the little horn of the He Goat.
2 Those day [sic] did not commence a [f] ter the destruction of Jerusalem & ye Temple by the Romans A. [D.] 70.
3 The time times & half a time did not commence before the year
800in wch the Popes supremacy commenced
4 They did not commence after the re [ig] ne of Gregory the 7th. 1084
5 The 1290 days did not commence b [e] fore the year
6 They did not commence after the reigne of Pope Greg. 7th. 1084
7 The diffence [sic] between the 1290 & 1335 days are a parts of the seven weeks.
Therefore the 2300 years do not end before ye year 2132 nor after 2370.The time times & half time do n [o] t end before 2060 nor after  The 1290 days do not begin [this should read: end] before 2090 nor after 1374 [sic; Newton probably means 2374]
The second reference to the 2060 prediction can be found in a folio [Yahuda MS 7.3g, f. 13v] , in which Newton writes:
Clearly Newton's mathematical prediction of the end of the world is one derived from his interpretation of not only scripture, but also one based upon his theological viewpoint regarding specific chronological dates and events as he saw them.
Newton may not have been referring to the post 2060 event as a destructive act resulting in the annihilation of the globe and its inhabitants, but rather one in which he believed the world, as he saw it, was to be replaced with a new one based upon a transition to an era of divinely inspired peace. In Christian and
Islamic theologythis concept is often referred to as The Second Comingof Jesus Christand the establishment of The Kingdom of Godon Earth. In a separate manuscript [Yahuda MS 7.2a, f. 31r] , Isaac Newton paraphrases Revelation 21 and 22 and relates the post 2060 events by writing:
Cquote|A new heaven & new earth. New Jerusalem comes down from heaven prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. The marriage supper. God dwells with men wipes away all tears from their eyes, gives them of ye fountain of living water & creates all thin things new saying, It is done. The glory & felicity of the New Jerusalem is represented by a building of Gold & Gemms enlightened by the glory of God & ye Lamb & watered by ye river of Paradise on ye banks of wch grows the tree of life. Into this city the kings of the earth do bring their glory & that of the nations & the saints raign for ever & ever.
Isaac Newton wrote extensively upon the historical topic of
Chronology. In 1728 " The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms", an approximately 87,000 word composition that details the rise and history of various ancient kingdoms was published. The publication date of this work occurred after his death, though the majority of it had been reviewed for publication by Newton himself shortly before he died. As such, this work represents one of his last known personally reviewed publications. Sometime around 1701 he also produced a thirty page unpublished treatise entitled, "The Original of Monarchies" detailing the rise of several monarchs throughout antiquity and tracing them back to the biblical figure of Noah. [cite web
last = Newton
first = Isaac
title = The Original of Monarchies
url = http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/texts/viewtext.php?id=THEM00040&mode=normalized
accessdate = 2007-08-19 ]
Newton's chronological writing is
Eurocentric, with the earliest records focusing upon Greece, Anatolia, Egypt, and the Levant. Many of Newton's dates do not correlate with current historical knowledge. While Newton mentions several pre-historical events found within The Bible, the oldest actual historical date he provides is 1125BC. In this entry he mentions Mephres, a ruler over Upper Egyptfrom the territories of Syene to Heliopolis, and his successor Misphragmuthosis. However, during 1125BC the Pharaoh of Egypt is now understood to be Ramesses IX.
Though some of the dates Newton provides for various events are inaccurate by modern standards,
Archeologyas a form of modern science did not exist in Newton's time. In fact, the majority of the conclusionary dates which Newton cites are based on the works of Herodotus, Pliny, Plutarch, Homer, and various other classical historians, authors, and poets; themselves often citing secondary sources and oral records of uncertain date. Newton's approach to chronology was focused upon gathering historical information from various sources found throughout antiquity and cataloging them according to their appropriate date by his contemporary understanding, standards, and available source material.
Found within "The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms", are several passages that directly mention the mythical land of
Atlantis. The first such passage is part of his "Short Chronical" which indicates his belief that Homer's Ulyssesleft the island of Ogygiain 896BC. In Greek Mythology, Ogygia was home to Calypso, the daughter of Atlas (after whom Atlantis was named). Some scholars have suggested that Ogygia and Atlantis are locationally connected, or possibly the same island. From his writings it appears Newton may have shared this belief. Newton also lists Cadis or Cales as possible candidates for Ogygia, though does not cite his reasons for believing so. Within the same material Newton mentions that according to ancient sources, Atlantis had been as big as all Europe, Africa and Asia, but was sunk into the Sea.
Newton & Secret Societies
Isaac Newton has often been associated with various
secret societiesand fraternal ordersthroughout history. Due to the secretive nature of such organizations, lack of supportive publicized material, and dubious motives for claiming Newton's participation in these groups, it is difficult to establish his actual membership in any specific organization.Citation | last =Bauer | first =Alain | publication-date =2007 | title = Isaac Newton's Freemasonary: The Alchemy of Science and Mysticism | publication-place = Originally published as: Aux origines de la franc-maçonnerie: Newton et les Newtoniens by Editions Dervy (2003)| publisher =Inner Traditions | pages =Book Excerpt - from Chapter 3 | isbn =1-59477-172-3 | doi = | oclc = | url =http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/book_bauer.html | accessdate =06/25/08 ]
Regardless of his own membership status, Newton was a known associate of many individuals who themselves have often been labeled as members of various esoteric groups. It is unclear if these associations were a result of being a well established and prominently publicized scholar, an early member and sitting President of
The Royal Society(1703-1727), a prominent figure of State and Master of the Mint, a recognized Knight, or if Newton actually sought active membership within these esoteric organizations himself. Considering the nature and legality of alchemical practices during his lifetime, as well as his possession of various materials and manuscripts pertaining to alchemical research, Newton may very well have been a member of a group of like minded thinkers and colleagues. The organized level of this group (if in fact any existed), the level of their secrecy, as well as the depth of Newton's involvement within them, remains unclear.
Though Newton was largely considered a reclusive personality and not prone to socializing, during his lifetime being a member of "Societies" or "Clubs" was a very popular form of interpersonal networking. Considering his esteemed social status, it is probable that Newton would have had a least some contact with such groups at various levels. He was most certainly a member of The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge and the
Spalding Gentlemen’s Societycite web | title =Spalding Gentlemen’s Society | url =http://www.spalding-gentlemens-society.org | format =HTML | accessdate =06-25-08 ] , however, these are considered learned societies, not esoteric societies. Newton's membership status within any particular secret society remains verifiably allusive and largely speculative, however, it still lends itself to popular sensationalism.
Newton & The Rosicrucians
Perhaps the secret society which most influenced Isaac Newton were the
Rosicrucians.Citation | last =White | first =Michael| publication-date = | year =1999 | title =Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer | publisher =Da Capo Press | pages =416 | page =117 | isbn =073820143X | url =http://books.google.com/books?id=l2C3NV38tM0C | accessdate =6-25-08 ] Though the Rosicrucian movement had caused a great deal of excitement within Europe's scholarly community during the early seventeenth century, by the time Newton had reached maturity the movement had become less sensationalized. However, the Rosicrucian movement still would have a profound influence upon Newton, particularly in regard to his alchemical work and philosophical thought.
The Rosicrucian belief in being specially chosen for the ability to communicate with angels or spirits is echoed in Newton's prophetic beliefs. Additionally, the Rosicrucians proclaimed to have the ability to live forever through the use of the "elixer vitae" and the ability to produce limitless amounts of gold from the use of
The Philosopher's Stone, which they claimed to have in their possession. Like Newton, the Rosicrusians were deeply religious, avowedly Christian, anti-Catholic, and highly politicised. Isaac Newton would have a deep interest in not just their alchemical pursuits, but also their belief in esoteric truths of the ancient past and the belief in enlightened individuals with the ability to gain insight into nature, the physical universe, and the spiritual realm.
At the time of his death, Isaac Newton had 169 books on the topic of alchemy in his personal library, and was believed to have considerably more books on this topic during his Cambridge years, though he may have sold them before moving to London in 1696. For its time, his was considered one of the finest alchemical libraries in the world. In his library, Newton left behind a heavily annotated personal copy of "The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity R.C.", by Thomas Vaughan which represents an English translation of The Rosicrucian Manifestos. Newton also possessed copies of "
Themis Aurea" and " Symbola Aurea Mensae Duodecium" by the learned alchemist Michael Maier, both of which are significant early books about the Rosicrucian movement. These books were also extensively annotated by Newton.
Newton's ownership of these materials by no means denotes membership within any early Rosicrucian order. Furthermore, considering that his personal alchemical investigations were focused upon discovering materials which the Rosicrucians professed to already be in possession of long before he was born, would seem to exclude Newton from their membership. During his own life, Newton was openly accused of being a Rosicrucian, as were many members of The Royal Society. [cite book |last=Yates |first=Frances A. |year=1972 |title=The Rosicrucian Enlightenment |publisher=Routledge |location=London] Though it is not known for sure if Isaac Newton was in fact a Rosicrucian, and he never publicly identified himself as one, from his writings it does appear that he may have shared many of their sentiments and beliefs.
Newton & Freemasonry
There is no verifiable record of Newton being a
Freemason.Citation | last =Baigent | first =Michael | last2 =Leigh | first2 =Richard | last2 =Lincoln | first2 =Henry |publication-date = | date = | year = | title =Holy Blood, Holy Grail| publication-place = | publisher =Delta Trade Paperbacks | pages =496 | isbn =0385338457 | accessdate =6/26/08 ] Despite this lack of evidence, Isaac Newton is still frequently identified as being a member of several early Masonic Lodges including the Grand Lodge of England. There is currently a Freemason Lodge operating at Cambridge Universitynamed The Isaac Newton University Lodge, however this does not emphatically mean that Isaac Newton was a founder or even a member, as there are many social and scholastic clubs which bear his name.cite web | last =INUL | title =Isaac Newton University Lodge No. 859 |url =http://www.inul.org/ | format =HTML | accessdate =06/26/08 ]
Considering the secretive nature of early Freemasonry and the belief that the modern structure of the organization was partly established during Newton's lifetime in and around
London, there is continued speculation as to the role that Newton may have had in the formation of Masonic Orders in their modern context. Newton's membership of The Royal Society and the fact that many Royal Society members have been identified as early Freemasons has lead many to believe Newton was a Mason himself. It is clear that Newton was deeply interested in architecture, sacred geometry, and the structure of the Temple of Solomon, a subject that plays an important role in early Masonic mythology. However, ultimately there is no evidence to directly connect Newton to Freemasonry.
Newton & The Priory of Sion
It has been claimed that Newton was a Grand Master of the mythical and exhaustively debunked
Priory of Sion. Since the Priory itself is considered to be a ludibrium, Newton's membership would naturally also be considered false. The " Dossiers Secrets d'Henri Lobineau", a forgery and founding document of the Priory, lists Newton as a member as does Dan Brown's bestselling fictional book, " The Da Vinci Code". Isaac Newton's membership plays an important role in Brown's book as a plot puzzle mentioned as "the tomb of a knight a pope interred", referring not to a medieval knight, but rather to Newton's tomb in Westminster Abbey, and the fact that he was eulogized by Alexander Pope(A. Pope).
*White, Michael. Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer, 1997.
*"The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy" by Sir William Sherrell of the Royal SocietyFact|date=February 2007
* [http://www.newtonproject.imperial.ac.uk/prism.php?id=46 "Introducing Newton's Alchemical Papers"] (from the [http://www.newtonproject.imperial.ac.uk Newton Project] )
* [http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/index.jsp "The Chemistry of Issac Newton"] including teaching resources (part of the [http://www.newtonproject.imperial.ac.uk Newton Project] )
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/newton/ Newton's Dark Secrets] PBS Nova episode.
* [http://www.phys.uu.nl/~vgent/astrology/newton.htm Isaac Newton and Astrology]
* [http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/55191.html the volume of a hemisphere]
* [http://www.jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/mss/newton/ Exhibit at the Jewish National Library and University]
* [http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/sj/scientists/villalpando.htm Isaac Newton used the works of Villalpando in his architectural studies.]
* [http://www.math.niu.edu/~rusin/known-math/index/40-XX.html harmonious and beautiful constructions]
* [http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/pillar_solomon_temple.html the skills in math and science]
* [http://www.themathpage.com/aReal/unit-fraction.htm unit fractions.]
* [http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Extras/Graf_theory.html the math]
* [http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/mss/intro/ALCH00110 Newtons Alchemy]
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15784/15784-h/15784-h.htm#chron| The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms] at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.