Back to the basics: Isaac Newton and the Study of Chronology

Corpus Newtonicum

To many die-hard historians of science the scholarly activities of in particular early modern natural philosophers are still seen as alien. This is already a great leap forward compared with the attitudes of most of our twentieth century predecessors, who were often point-blank hostile towards these ‘extracurricular’ activities of their heroes. As an aside, many renowned modern science communicators and popularizers, including he-who-should-not-be-named, never got the memo and still live under the impression that scientists were always scientists and never did anything but science. Alas, the greats of the seventeenth century were invariably occupied with a wealth of disciplines, including alchemy, theology, law, history, antiquarianism, and chronology.

The latter might raise some eyebrows, as the study of chronology as an independent discipline has vanished entirely. Early modern western chronologists studied ancient histories, in particular Mediterranean and Near-Eastern, in order to calibrate and align them. With civilizations each using different calendars…

View original post 2,687 more words