Catalogue Entry: THEM00089

'Of the Church'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Fondation Martin Bodmer, Geneva, Switzerland

Custodial History

The entire lot was bought at the Sotheby sale by Gabriel Wells for £120 and was later split into two major sections, one of which was acquired by Yahuda and is now Yahuda Ms. 15. Babson Ms. 438 may also have formed part of the lot.

Sotheby Lot

Part of SL249

Contents

Incomplete treatise on Church history.

The document consists of mostly later drafts of the material in Yahuda Ms. 15. Though the work is far from complete, and Newton clearly never hit on a satisfactory sequence of chapters, many of the individual sections form self-contained wholes. The pages are for the most part unnumbered. The chapter headings are as follows:

'The Introduction' (4 pp.), followed by 6 pp. of draft tables of contents, one of them in another hand, all varying from one another and representing different arrangements of the chapter headings in this manuscript and in Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 15.

'Chap. 1./ Of the Host of Heaven & the Prince of the Host.'

'Chap. IX./ Of the Prince of the Host or Messiah ye Prince and of his Host composed of Iews & Gentiles united by charity' (incomplete, 1 p.)

'Chap. I./ Of the Host of Heaven and the Prince of the Host' (an earlier draft).

'Chap. II/ Of the holy Covenant.'

'Chap / Of the faith wch was once delivered to the saints' [altered from: 'Of the rending of the Church Catholick into parties']. Note in Thomas Pellet's hand: 'No 1. This is Perfect & should be published', but apart from the number this is deleted.

'Chap. 4/ Of the Theology of the Heathens Cabbalists and ancient Hereticks.' Pellet adds: 'No 36'.

'Chap. / Of the working of the mystery of iniquity.' Note by Pellet that this appears to be an early draft of parts of the foregoing chapters and of that on the rise of the Roman Catholic church.

'Chap. / Of the working of the mystery of iniquity' [altered from: 'Of the breaking of the primitive Church into parties & the rise of Popery.'] Note by Pellet: 'No 35. This is all almost verbatim in Chap. of Theology of Heathens.'

'Chap. / Of the working of the mystery of iniquity' (heading added in another hand [Pellet's?], with the (incorrect) note: 'All this transcribed out of the Theology of Heathen Cabbalist [sic] & Heretics': in fact it appears to be a variant draft of the foregoing chapter).

'Chap. XIV./ Of the Host of Heaven, and the corruptions which crept into it.' This is followed by a page with three headings but no text: ''/ 'Chap. V./ Of the disputable opinions wch crept into the religion of the Host of heaven'/ 'Chap. IV./ Of the disputable opinions which crept into the religion of the primitive Christians.' Then comes an otherwise untitled chapter on the good relations between Jewish converts and other early Christians, on disputes about the nature of Christ and on the rise of the papacy. Then follow two fragmentary sheets in Latin apparently detached from another work.

'Chap. / A further account of the Host of heaven & the corruptions which crept into it.'

'Chap. / Of the Christian Religion and its corruption in Morals.'

'Chap. / Of the corruption of the Christian Religion in discipline & morality.' This chapter is followed by two pp. of a draft fragment of 'Two Notable Corruptions' (New College, Oxford, Ms. 361(4)).

'Chap. / Of the corruption of the Church in language & opinions.' Note by Pellet: 'No 29. This is all in the former sheets'.

'Chap. / The revelation of the Man of Sin.' Note by Pellet: 'This is all in the foregoing sheets'.

'Chap. X./ Of the sanctuary of strength, or Of the Temple & Synagogue of the Iews & Churches of the Christians.

'Chap. VIII./ Of the Roman Empire in relation to Ecclesiastical dominion & the power of changing times & laws in matters of Religion' (2 drafts).

'Chap. / Of the rise of the Roman catholick Church' (3 drafts).

'Chap. VII/ Of the abomination of desolation.'

'Chap. I./ Of the Church of God and of her Laws Sanctuary Government'

'Chap / Of the apostacy & revelation of the Man of sin.'

'Chap / Of the first [altered from: 'fundamental'] principles of the Christian religion.'

'Chap. 1./ Of Ecclesiastical Polyty, or The ancient form of Church Government.'

'Chap. / Of the union of Christians in one body and the breach of that union.'

'Chap. / Of the mystical body of Christ' (incomplete: half a page).

' ' (most of the following text also struck through).

'The everlasting Gospel preached in all nations.'

'Chap. 3./ Of the rule of faith & schism of the Christian Roman Empire.'

Followed by a series of notes, sketches and outlines for various sections of the above, in no apparent order, with a note by Pellet: 'All Imperfect'.

Several extracts from the more complete and coherent sections published in Goldish, Judaism, 172-187. See also M. Goldish, 'Newton's Of the Church: its content and implications' in Force and Popkin (eds.), Newton and religion (Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer, 1999), pp. 145-164.

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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