University Archives

Lot 226

Previous image preload Next image preload


Sir Isaac Newton Superb Important Autograph Manuscript: Heresy, Expounding Religious Views that Colored His Scientific Works Including Principia!

NEWTON, Isaac. Important Autograph Manuscript. Ca.1700-1710. In English. 1 folio page, 7.25" x 12"; Approximately 500 words of text, with textual emendations. 

ISAAC NEWTON’S “HERESY.” Ever the independent thinker, Newton embraced an unorthodox view of Christianity from an early age -- rejecting the Trinitarian doctrine of the English Church that affirmed God and Christ to be co-equal and one in essence. Because such an anti-Trinitarian view was considered heresy by the Anglican Church – punishable by burning at the stake -- Newton kept his religious beliefs secret throughout his life.

This remarkable manuscript records Newton’s research into the 4th-century origins of the anti-Trinitarian viewpoint – the so-called “Arian heresy” -- at the heart of his own religious beliefs. Centering on the abstruse and thorny question of whether Christ the Son was “begotten” (or “unbegotten”) of God the Father, this manuscript combines philosophical and historical analysis to explore the meaning and implications of the question. The manuscript’s emendations clearly show it to be a work in process, and the text is perhaps a portion of Newton’s long-planned but never finished “History of the Church.”

Newton’s theological views did not exist in a vacuum divorced from his science. To the contrary, Newton’s theological views shaped his physics. This is clearly evident from the Principia, where Newton made the explicit point (in the Scholium General) of affirming the “LORD God” to have “dominion” over the universe. The Principia, however, did not “frame a hypothesis” about the actual effectuating cause of gravity within the world, and Newton devoted many years of effort and study investigating the nature of Christ – deeming his studies “a duty of the greatest moment” -- in the hope of illuminating “the active cause of gravity.” Because Newton’s theological manuscripts were kept secret both during his lifetime and for 200 years after his death, the academic study of Newton’s theology – and its fuller relationship to his physics – is still at an early stage of development, and manuscripts such as the present will undoubtedly be of critical relevance to future scholarship.

A KEY DOCUMENT FOR UNDERSTANDING NEWTON’S WORLDVIEW, The present manuscript is well representative of Newton’s genius. Evidencing the same logical and rigorous mind at work in Newton’s science, this manuscript superbly highlights Newton’s penetrating philosophic acumen. Almost all of Newton’s manuscripts are institutionalized, and only a very small number of significant manuscripts remain in private hands. The Present is a Rare Opportunity to acquire an important and substantial manuscript by One of Humanity’s Supreme Geniuses.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000