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Sir Isaac Newton: The History and Contents of the Yahuda Collection

Hosted By: The National Library of Israel (NLI)

The National Library of Israel is home to one of the most significant collections of Sir Isaac Newton’s non-scientific writings. These manuscripts, in Newton’s hand, concern the history of ancient Christianity, the chronology of ancient kingdoms, theology, and related matters. Why was Newton writing about these subjects? What might they have to do with his scientific and mathematical discoveries? And how did they get to the National Library of Israel? We will explore the extraordinary story of Newton’s theological manuscripts from his passionate authorship to their fate centuries after his death. We will see how the Jerusalem-born Sephardic polymath scholar Abraham Shalom Yahuda acquired a large collection of this manuscript treasure in the 1930s, how he decided to will the material to the National Library, and what has been discovered in this long-hidden collection.

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Matt Goldish

Matt Goldish (PhD, Hebrew University), Samuel M. and Esther Melton Chair in History, The Ohio State University, writes and teaches about early modern Jewish history, Sephardim after the Spanish Expulsion, Jewish-Christian intellectual relations, and messianism. He is the author of Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton​, The Sabbatean Prophets​, and Jewish Questions: Responsa on Sephardic Life in the Early Modern Period​. He has also edited or co-edited books on spirit possession in Judaism, Jewish messianism, heresy, and Jewish education. He is writer and executive producer of the film "The Other Men In Black: The Hasidic Movement, Past and Present".
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The National Library of Israel (NLI)

The National Library of Israel serves as the dynamic institution of collective memory for the Jewish people worldwide and Israelis of all backgrounds and faiths – past, present and future. Through its world-class collections and a range of innovative digital, educational and cultural initiatives, the National Library works to share the stories of the Jewish people, the State of Israel, the Land of Israel and its region.
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