Isaac Newton learns Hebrew: Samuel Johnson's Nova cubi Hebræi tabella
Notes and Records of the Royal Society
Royal Society Publishing
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Joalland, M., & Mandelbrote, S. (2015). Isaac Newton learns Hebrew: Samuel Johnson's Nova cubi Hebræi tabella. Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 70 (1), 9-21. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2015.0055
This article concerns the earliest evidence for Isaac Newton’s use of Hebrew: a manuscript copy by Newton of part of a work intended to provide a reader of the Hebrew alphabet with the ability to identify or memorize more than 1000 words and to begin to master the conjugations of the Hebrew verb. In describing the content of this unpublished manuscript and establishing its source and original author for the first time, we suggest how and when Newton may have initially become acquainted with the language. Finally, basing our discussion in part on an examination of the reading marks that Newton left in the surviving copies of Hebrew grammars and lexicons that he owned, we will argue that his interest in Hebrew was not intended to achieve linguistic proficiency but remained limited to particular theological queries of singular concern.
Newton, Hebrew, Johnson, Nova cubi Hebræi tabella
Michael Joalland’s work was supported by the University of Suwon, 2013. The images are reproduced courtesy of the Syndics of The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Library.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsnr.2015.0055
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253472