2060: Sir Isaac Newton’s doomsday date

Cambridge University calls him “one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time” and “the founding examplar of modern physical science”. Therefore, when Sir Issac Newton calculates the date on which the world will end, one is inclined to trust his math. (He was, after all, the incumbent of Cambridge’s Lucasian Chair of Mathematics.) Newton mentioned his calculated doomsday date, 2060, in a letter recently put on display in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Fate magazine reported in its August issue.
The letter, however, is not the work of Newton as a scientist, but rather an expample of his theological scholarship. He arrived at the 2060 date by working from verses in the Bible’s Book of Daniel, arguing the world would end 1,260 years after the AD 800 foundation of the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe.
He was apparently as confident of his predictions in this realm as he was in the rational world of science. As reported in This Is London, Newton’s letter states the “Bible proved the world would end in 2060.” Adding a helpful note of eqivocation, “It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner.”
Apparently the reason he set to solve the problem was to debunk various end-timers during his own era. He wrote: “This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”
Despite his genius, Newton did not have the final word on the apocalypse. At least not yet. The Interactive Bible offers a list of 220 past, present and future end-of-the-world prophecies, most of which have turned out to be “rash conjectures of fanciful men.”
We’ll find out if Newton was as good at religious prophecy as he was at physics in 53 years. Unless, of course, the Mayans were right all along and we only make it to 2012.
The exhibition entitled “Newton’s Secrets,” is part of an array of papers of the British scientist bequeathed to the Jerusalem University by a wealthy collector of scientific manuscripts. The Newton letter has been in the possession of Israel’s National library since 1969. This is the letter’s first public display.


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93sj88 said...

I believe his math was off slightly. Try 756+1260 instead. Comes out to 2016. Open minded thinking the number 1260 also arranges to 2016. May be a fluke but I have been stuck on this for forever. Seems we over think things sometimes when the true answers are right in front of us.

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