More than three decades separate Isaac Newton’s explorations of astronomical chronology and his youthful engagement with problems of perception and measurement. By the time of his first computations in the area, shortly before the publication of the Opticks, Isaac Newton’s understanding of measurement had been refined through years of experimental and computational experience, not the least of which occurred as he worked on the motions of bodies in fluids during the 1680s. The previous decade had given Newton considerable familiarity with words from the past, and he had slowly developed a highly skeptical attitude toward ancient remarks that did not have a continuous textual ancestry, or that reflected what he considered to be unreliable “poetic fancies.” Thus, aiming to produce a compelling argument grounded in computation for his new chronology, Newton faced a treacherous triple problem: he had first to argue that the words with which he worked were originally produced near the time of the Trojan War; then he had to transform these words into astronomical data; finally, he had to deploy a technique for working with what he rapidly learned was a set of extremely discrepant observations. He labored over these problems until his death. This chapter follows Newton as he transformed words and calculated.
Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.