Irena Štěpánová in this book explores Isaac Newton’s engagement with ancient wisdom, the Hexameral tradition, Hermeticism, theology, alchemy as well as natural philosophy. In so doing, she brings together the established historiography with her own new insights. Štěpánová’s study is more than a study of Newton’s thought, for it contains a good deal of background on ancient (e.g., Hermeticism) and early modern thought (e.g., the Cambridge Platonists). She also uses the interpretative lenses of several contemporary Newton and non-Newton scholars in her work. Moreover, provides helpful summaries of Newton’s thought (e.g., his theology). Štěpánová has provided Newton scholarship a great service in this book, not only by making her Czech-language work available in English, but bringing to the English-language reader learning on Hebraic thought, philosophy of life and Hermeticism originally published in Czech.
I. INTRODUCTION // II. SOURCES OF NEWTON’S INSPIRATION // The Hexameral literature and the Bible // Philo of Alexandria (15 B.C. – A.D. 50) // Ancient Egypt // Maimonides (1135–1204) // The Cambridge Platonists // Prisca sapientia // Corpus Hermeticum I. // III. NEWTON THE THEOLOGIAN AND HISTORIAN // About Theology // Newton as a theologian of his times // Newton the Historian // IV. NEWTON THE ALCHEMIST // Newton as an alchemist of his times // Summary of chapter IV // V. NEWTON – THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER (SCIENTIST) // De Gravitatione // Principia – Newton’s mature methodological approaches // Summary of Chapter V // VI. ANALYSIS OF THE SCHOLIUM GENERALE // Previous Research on the Scholium Generale // Scholium Generale and Prisca Sapientia (Hermetic writings, Cudworth and Patrizi) // Summary of Chapter VI. // Corpus hermeticum II. // VII. CONCLUSIONS // Zusammenfassung // Literature // Appendices