The Yahuda Collection of Isaac Newton Manuscripts at the National Library of Israel
The National Library of Israel in cooperation with the Cambridge University Library invites you to a new series of lectures around The Newton Watermark Project, which aims to gain a better understanding of the organization and chronology of Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) manuscripts dispersed across the globe. This project is highly innovative in its approach to these historical materials, using advanced imaging techniques and experimental methods such as computer vision to put them under a new light.
Newton manuscripts held at the Cambridge University Library and at the National Library of Israel together represent the registration of the Papers of Isaac Newton in the Unesco Memory of the World Register. Although Newton is best known for his theory of universal gravitation and discovery of calculus, his interests were much broader than is usually appreciated. In addition to his celebrated scientific and mathematical writings, Newton also wrote many alchemical and theological texts and he left many administrative papers in his role as Warden and then Master of the Mint.
The National Library of Israel and the Cambridge University Library are home to one of the most significant collections of Sir Isaac Newton’s 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 (1877-1951) acquired a large collection of this manuscript treasure in the 1930s, and how these materials were transmitted to the National Library of Israel.
Scott Mandelbrote is fellow and Perne librarian at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge. He was co-founder of the Newton Project, now based at the University of Oxford, of which he is editorial director. He is currently principal investigator of a project, concerned with new directions in the digital humanities for cultural institutions and funded by the AHRC and the NEH, which focuses on the capture and interpretation of watermark images in paper. He also supervises a project to catalogue early modern Hebrew printed books in Cambridge libraries. His publications include Footprints of the Lion: Isaac Newton at Work and The Reception of Isaac Newton in Europe.
Stefan Litt, PhD (2001) in Pre-Modern History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, habilitation, Graz University (2008), researched and taught at the universities of Erfurt, Düsseldorf, Graz (Austria), Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan, Ramat Gan (Israel). He has published on the history of early modern European Jewry and on Jewish archives and book culture. Since 2010 he has worked as an archivist at the National Library of Israel, responsible for the foreign language holdings. Since 2018, Litt has been the Humanities curator of the NLI. In 2014 he was awarded with the Rosl and Paul Arnsberg prize of the Polytechnische Gesellschaft Frankfurt a.M.
Sunday, December 11, 8 pm Israel / 7 pm CET / 6 pm UK / 1 pm EST
Sunday December 11th 17 Kislev 08:00 - 09:15
Dr. Stefan Litt & Scott Mandelbrote
Online Zoom Event Map
Isaac Newton, Treatise on Revelation, The National Library of Israel