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Newton and the Origin of Civilization
Jed Z. Buchwald & Mordechai Feingold

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Buchwald and Feingold's publication significantly adds to scholarly commentary on Newton. The authors' detailed examination of the making of history in the early modern world clearly demonstrates Newton's novel approach in Chronology and its lasting influence on subsequent history writers who were governed by connoisseurship and taste rather than mathematical certainty."--Aluson Ksiazklliwicz, BJHS

"Buchwald and Feingold have resuscitated erudite discussions that were dismissed some 300 years ago. As they point out, Newton's own meandering, copious comparisons between obscure minutiae seem designed to deter even the most stalwart of readers, but their own comprehensive account is written in an admirably lucid style. For anyone who shares their fascination with Newton's obsessions, but quails when confronted by his tortuous prose, they have rendered an invaluable service."--Patricia Fara, Metascience

"Buchwald and Feingold's book is full of remarkable details, insights, and incidents. . . . Certainly, the book is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest either in Newton or in the study of ancient history in the 17th and 18th centuries."--Ernest Davis, SIAM News

"Buchwald and Feingold prove to be excellent guides through this material. . . . They provide a detailed and authoritative commentary. . . . [T]he authors have much to say that is new. . . . Newton specialists should certainly read this book for the many insights the authors offer along the way into Newton's ways of thinking."--John Henry, Science & Education

"Fascinating. . . . [Newton and the Origin of Civilization] is . . . the first serious attempt to solve what might be called the 'Newton three-body problem,' a conundrum at the very center of Newton scholarship today. . . . [T]here is no better starting point for thinking about the Christian theology entangled in Newton's natural science than this book. . . . [A] thoughtful, erudite, and insightful study."--J.B. Shank, Physics Today

"Newton specialists should certainly read this book for the many insights the authors offer along the way into Newton's ways of thinking."--John Henry, Science and Education

"Newton and the Origin of Civilization adds considerably to what we know about Newton as a historian and chronologist."--Margaret C. Jacob, Journal of American History

"[N]o one interested in Newton's amazing contribution to science will fail to find in this book much that is of considerable interest. . . . The discussion of evidence and why it needs the constraints of a theory that makes sense of what the senses so badly disclose is the best I have come across, and it will undoubtedly stimulate historians for a chronologically significant period of time."--William R. Shea, International Archive of the History of Science

"The authors present a well-crafted argument in an accessible yet scholarly style, adding proof, in an often-neglected area of Newtonian studies, to the claim that Newton's 'eccentric' interests were connected to his scientific pursuits. This book will add value to any informed discussion of the contextual nature of the history of science."--Paul Greenham, Historian

"Those courageous readers who go carefully through this book will learn much more about Newton's work and mind, as well as about early modern science and culture, than most other books provide."--Marco Panza, Journal for the History of Astronomy

"This book is a major step forward in understanding one of the main strands in Newton's intellectual life. . . . This is an exemplary presentation of a key figure in the midst and at the mercy of the intellectual currents of his time."--Peter Barker, Renaissance Quarterly


"The reader of Buchwald and Feingold's long awaited book will learn not only about Newton the historian, but also about his theological, alchemical, mathematical, and astronomical work. The authors have something new to say about every facet of Newton's intellectual endeavor: about his peculiar way of working with numbers and data, his anxieties concerning evidence and testimony, his polemics with the English and the French erudites."--Niccolò Guicciardini, author of Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method

"This erudite, elegant, and consistently fascinating book is a major contribution to both the history of scholarship and that of science. Buchwald and Feingold examine, in precise and illuminating detail, one of the least understood episodes in the long decline of the encyclopedic idea of learning: Isaac Newton's protracted and serious effort to reconfigure the chronology of the ancient world."--Anthony Grafton, author of Cardano's Cosmos: The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer

"A tour de force. Buchwald and Feingold have produced an impressive study of a little known facet of Newton's career, which will surely generate considerable interest in the scholarly community. Newton and the Origin of Civilization traces out a convincing series of linkages between Newton's chronological studies and his more 'mainstream' pursuits."--William R. Newman, author of Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution

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File created: 4/24/2017

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