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Newton, Maimonidean

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Chapter Summary

The triumph of the anti-Maimonidean ideology in Spain, bent on eradicating "heresy" from Israel, had a ripple effect as of yet unexplored by Jewish historians and other luminaries. The anti-Maimonidean society is, primarily and fundamentally, a persecuting society. Newton's religious views affected his scientific writings. David Castillejo noted the remarkable fact that Newton used certain numerological symbolism, particularly the numbers three, seven, and ten taken from the Temple of Solomon to structure his Opticks. According to Newton, the Temple was built horizontally in units of ten, and vertically in units of three, seven, and eight. Newton's interest in Rabbinics and Maimonides was not mere intellectual curiosity. It affected his most intimate religious beliefs and his Christianity. To discredit Newton's religious beliefs it was alleged that by 1692 he had gone mad, although his correspondence with Locke and Bentley at the time show him to be perfectly sane.

Keywords: Christianity; Maimonidean; Newton; Rabbinics



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