Catalogue Entry: ALCH00061

'Out of La Lumiere sortant des Tenebres' and 'Out of the Commentator on La Lumiere sortant de Tenebris [sic]' (c. 1687-92), incomplete.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 30, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

[Normalized Text (at Chymistry of Isaac Newton)]

Custodial History

Bought at the Sotheby sale by Keynes for £7.10s. On 3 and again on 25 April 1938 Keynes wrote to Yahuda reminding him about a Newton manuscript he (Keynes) had given him as part of a proposed swap but for which Keynes had received nothing in return. Yahuda, however, claimed that as far as he was aware the exchanges had all been fully settled. It seems likely this is the manuscript referred to by Keynes: see Spargo, '1936 sale', 132-3.

Sotheby Lot



Abstracts translated [by Newton?] from La lumière sortant par soy même des tenebres (1687), itself a translation of a Latin translation of and commentary on an original text in Italian verse possibly by Otto Tachenius. The commentary begins on f. 1v. On the 'grand mercury of Philosophers' and analogies between alchemical transmutations and the original Creation. Includes occasional elucidatory notes by Newton in square brackets.


The remainder of these notes had become detached before the Sotheby sale and were sold, together with a separate set of notes on the same work, as SL41, which is now Babson Ms. 414 (q.v. for further details).

The complete text, i.e. Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 30 and Babson Ms. 414B, is transcribed with very useful introductory notes in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 278-87. H1003 is Newton's copy of the French text.

© 2024 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 -

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