Catalogue Entry: THEM00050

Miscellaneous drafts and fragments on prophecy

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 7, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Custodial History

SL245, described in the Sotheby catalogue as c. 300,000 words on 975 pp., was bought at the Sotheby sale by Gabriel Wells for £48 and sold to Yahuda on 1 Aug. 1936 for the sale price plus 15%. On 24 May 1949, Yahuda wrote to the London dealer Heinrich Eisemann, 'As to lot 245 the new arrangement and replacement of the pages resulted in 1,530 pages instead of 975 pages as many pages had to be taken out from other lots. But for this manuscript I have a customer who wants to pay a much higher price than $3,800 suggested by you.' If this was true, the prospective buyer's desire to part with his or her cash presumably waned. There must subsequently have been further reordering of the manuscript as the present Yahuda Ms. 7 amounts to nowhere near 1,530 pp.

Sotheby Lot

SL245 + ?


Several sections of 7.1 are more or less complete and were used as a source for Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733), but for the most part this is a jumble of unordered fragments, some written on the backs of letters to Newton or on sheets previously used by him for other purposes. Several pages damaged by fire and others by chemicals.

Ms. 7.1

a) f. 1 'Chap. 1/ Of the original of Monarchies

f. 7 'Chap. 10/ Of the daily worship & the abomination of Desolation.'

f. 9 'Chap. / Of the daily worship & abomination of desolation'

[f. 10 blank]

f. 11 'Sect. III./ Of the daily worship taken away & the abomination of desolation set up.'

b) ff. 1-8 'An Interpretation of Daniel's Beasts'

c) ff. 1-11 (f. 10 is blank) 'An Interpretation of the Prophesy of Daniels weeks by Iewish years' (4 drafts and fragmentary notes).

d) f. 1 'An Account of the Empire of the Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, according to the descriptions of them given by Daniel' (2 drafts).

f. 8 'Of the kingoms represented in Daniel by the four Beasts, & of the ten horns of the fourth Beast.'

f. 24 'Sect. III./ Of the eleventh horn of Daniel's fourth Beast.'

ff. 25-31 'Chap. III./ Of ye eleventh Kingdom signified by the little horn wch arose after the tenth.'

e) f. 25 'Chap. VII./ Of the prophesy of the Ram and He Goate.'

f. 27 'Chap. X/ Of the Prophesy of the seventy weeks.'

ff. 29-31 'Chap. IX./ Of the Prophesy of the Scripture of truth'

f) ff. 1-4 'Chap. IV/ Of the Prophesy of the seventy weeks' (3 drafts).

g) ff. 1-15 'Chap. V/ Of the Empire of the Greeks'. f. 15v features a rough draft in Latin of Principia-related material.

h) ff. 1-52 'Chap. VI/ Of the Empire of the Latins' (4 increasingly fragmentary drafts).

i) ff. 1-12 'Sect V/ Of the kingdoms represented in Daniel by the Ram & He-Goat & of the last horn of the Goat' (7 drafts).

j) ff. 1-27 'Chap. VIII./ A further explication of the four Empires' (5 drafts).

k) ff. 1-10 'Chap. / Of the Prophesy of the Scripture of truth' (5 drafts).

l) ff. 1-14 'Chap. VIII/ Of the four great Empires, & the temporal Dominion represented by the last horn of ye fourth Beast' (3 drafts).

m) ff. 1-8 'Sect. IV. Of the ten Horns of the fourth Beast.'

n) ff. 1-28 'Of the King who doth according to his will, & honours Mahuzzim, & regardeth not the God of his fathers nor the desire of weomen' (13 drafts).

o) ff. 1-16 Draft table of contents and miscellaneous fragments of text.

Ms. 7.2

a) For the most part, much rougher, untitled drafts of various sections on 56 ff. Includes two relatively finished sections, 'The Prophesy of the Woman in Heaven & the great red Dragon' (ff. 26-7) and 'The Interpretation of Apoc. 12 & 13' (ff. 45r-49r); also two schematisations of the Apocalypse at ff. 28-34 and ff. 38-9.

b) ff. 1-9 Notes in the hands of John Conduitt and another, possibly Benjamin Smith (the editor of Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John), on how to deal with these texts.

c) ff. 1-6 'Sect. II./ The second Temple with its Candlesticks representing the two Witnesses' (2 drafts).

d) ff. 1-2 'Sect. IV./ Of the first & second Temple and their Candlesticks'

e) ff. 1-4 'Sect. II./ Of the Woman & two-horned Beast.'

f) ff. 1-13 Editorial notes in various hands including Conduitt's.

g) ff. 1-6 'Considerations on The Prophesy of Daniel concerning the Messiah' (3 drafts).

h) ff. 1-4 Rough notes, untitled.

i) ff. 1-6 'Chap. XI. Of opening the seals of the book wch Daniel was commanded to seal up.'

j) f. 1 'Chap. X/ Of the Apocalyps of Iohn.'

f. 3 'Sect. IX Of the relation which the Prophesy of Iohn hath to the Book of the Law of Moses, & to the worship of God in the Temple.'

f. 11 'Sect. X/ Of the relation which the Prophesy of Iohn hath to those of Daniel and of the Subject of the Prophesy.'

f. 23 'Chap. IV./ Of the Kingdomes & Churches wch are the subject of sacred Prophesy' (4 drafts).

f. 50 'Chap. I/ Of the kingdomes & Churches represented in the Apocalyps.'

f. 52 Title page: 'An Account of the Empires & Churches represented by Iohn, & of the scene & synchronising parts of his Prophesy.' Note in Thomas Pellet's hand: 'No 56'.

f. 53 'Sect. III./ Of the Division of the Empire & Church into two Empires & two Churches.'

f. 56 'Sect. IV./ A further account of the division of the Roman Empire' (2 drafts).

f. 61 'Sect V/ Of the seven heads & ten horns of the Dragon & Beast.'

f. 75 'Chap. VIII/ An Account of the Empire of the Romans according to the description of it given by Iohn.'

ff. 79-94 Miscellaneous draft fragments in total disorder, including (ff. 91-4) a collation of variant readings in the Greek Apocalypse.

ff. 95-6 Printers' notes.

f. 97 'The second Trumpet'

f. 99 'The third Trumpet'

f. 101 'The fourth Trumpet'

f. 106 'The holding of the four winds.'

f. 107 'The fift Trumpet'

f. 109 'The sixt Trumpet'

ff. 111-129 Miscellaneous draft fragments, mainly relating to the first six trumpets.

f. 130 'Chap. / The Prophesy of opening the seventh Seal explained.'

ff. 131-9 Miscellaneous draft fragments, including several draft lists of 'Theses' relating to the significance of prophetic imagery.

Ms. 7.3

a) ff. 1-10 'Sect. II./ The two Witnesses' (3 drafts).

b) ff. 1-6 Miscellaneous notes on Daniel.

c) ff. 1-48 Passages relating to the interpretation of Revelation, greatly confused, with many pages out of numerical sequence.

d) ff. 1-12 Rough drafts of material in Ms. 7.3 a) and b).

e) ff. 1-6 Fragment in English and Latin, incomplete at both ends, on superstition and monasticism.

f) ff. 1-2 Fragment on Church history, badly damaged by fire.

g) ff. 1-26 Fragments on the rise of the papacy, with further draft fragments on Revelation.

h) ff. 1-2 Fragment on the Epistles to the Seven Churches.

i) ff. 1-59 Fragments on history and prophecy, many pages damaged by fire or chemicals.

j) ff. 1-5 Fragment on Revelation.

k) ff. 1-5 Another fragment on Revelation.

l) ff. 1-11 Fragment on Daniel and Revelation.

m) ff. 1-13 Fragment on Athanasius and the corruption of the true Church.

n) ff. 1-2 Fragment on Daniel, on the back of a draft account of pyx trial procedure.

o) ff. 1-9 Miscellaneous historical and apocalyptic jottings on various scraps of paper, cover-slips for letters, etc.

p) Largely unpaginated scraps with similar jottings. Includes re-used letters to or draft letters from Newton bearing the dates 26 April 1709, 26 Oct. 1709, 2 Aug. 1714, 1719, 27 Jan. 1721, 1 Feb. 1725/6.

© 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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