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Newton the Alchemist$
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William Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174877

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174877.001.0001

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(p.497) Epilogue
Newton the Alchemist

William R. Newman

Princeton University Press

This epilogue summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. It argues that the same degree of textual scholarship and experiment encountered in Newton's alchemy cannot be found in his other scientific work. His biblical hermeneutics and deep studies of chronology married his skill in astronomy to his understanding of humanist scholarship, but without anything approaching the generation-long labors of the laboratory elicited by chymistry. The unique and often idiosyncratic nature of Newton's alchemical quest calls for one final question. Can we see something of his reclusive, aloof character, his reliance on a brilliant, innate acumen to the exclusion of any personal warmth, and above all his belief that he stood above the herd of common intellects, fully justified by his scientific discoveries, as stemming from his early and ongoing idealization of the adepts?

Keywords:   Isaac Newton, alchemy, chymistry

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