How Isaac Newton’s Theological Writings Found a Home at Israel’s National Library

When Cambridge University decided it had no use for the great physicist’s extensive non-scientific papers, it handed them over to Sotheby’s auction house. But on the day they were auctioned, in 1936, almost nobody showed up. Zachary Solomon writes:

[The very same day], down the street, Christie’s was holding an auction of their own for Impressionist art. In the end, only two people came for Newton’s papers. One of them happened to be the noted economist John Maynard Keynes. The other: a Jewish expert on Middle Eastern affairs named Abraham Shalom Yahuda. The two split the pot: Keynes took the alchemy writings, Yahuda the theology.

When Yahuda died in 1951, his collection transferred to the National Library of Israel. And what a collection indeed: featured among Newton’s papers are works on mysticism, exegeses, projections for the end of days (mark 2060 on your calendar), maps, and illustrations. The papers show his belief that secret knowledge was contained in talmudic descriptions of the Temple.

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More about: Astrology, History & Ideas, Mysticism, National Library of Israel, Rare books, Science, Science and

 

To Israel’s Leading Strategist, Strength, Not Concessions, Has Brought a Measure of Calm

Aug. 14 2018

Following a long and distinguished career in the IDF, Yaakov Amidror served as Israel’s national-security adviser from 2011 to 2013. He speaks with Armin Rosen about the threats from Gaza, Hizballah, and Iran:

For Israel’s entire existence, would-be peacemakers have argued that the key to regional harmony is the reduction of the Jewish state’s hard power through territorial withdrawals and/or the legitimization of the country’s non-state enemies. In Amidror’s view, reality has thoroughly debunked this line of reasoning.

Amidror believes peace—or calm, at least—came as a result of Israeli muscle. Israel proved to its former enemies in the Sunni Arab world that it’s powerful enough to fill the vacuum left by America’s exit from the region and to stand up to Iran on the rest of the Middle East’s behalf. “The stronger Israel is, the more the ability of Arab countries to cooperate [with it] grows,” Amidror explained. On the whole, Amidror said he’s “very optimistic. I remember the threat that we faced when we were young. We fought the Six-Day War and I remember the Yom Kippur War, and I see what we are facing today. We have only one-and-a-half problems. One problem is Iran, and the half-problem is Hizballah.” . . .

In all likelihood the next Israeli-Iranian confrontation will be a clash with Amidror’s half-threat: the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizballah, Iran’s most effective proxy in the Middle East and perhaps the best armed non-state military force on earth. . . . “We should neutralize the military capability of Hizballah,” [in the event of war], he said. “We should not destroy the organization as a political tool. If the Shiites want these people to represent them, it’s their problem.” . . .

“It will be a very nasty war,” Amidror said. “A very, very nasty war.” Hizballah will fire “thousands and thousands” of long-range missiles of improved precision, speed, and range at Israeli population centers, a bombardment larger than Israel’s various layers of missile defense will be able to neutralize in full. . . . This will, [however], be a blow Israel can withstand. “Israelis will be killed, no question,” Amidror said. “But it’s not going to be catastrophic.”

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon