An Important Birthday Today, I Hear…

…of a fatherless boy,¹ so precariously brought into this world that as his mother lay on her birthing bed, it seemed unlikely so ill-conceived a child could live.²

But he did, and as his contemporaries bore witness, he would fashion miracles in their season.  As proclaimed by one of those who spread the good news — that which in Greek we would call a gospel —  “No closer to the gods can any mortal rise.”³

I’m talking about Isaac Newton of course.*  You were thinking of someone else?

Happy Newtonmas everyone!**

(Footnotes below the jump.)

1:  His father, also Isaac, died whilst Hanna Newton was pregnant with their son.

2:  His nurse recalled that at birth, Isaac fit into a quart pot. So unsure was the family of his survival that he remained unbaptized for three weeks.

3:  From Edmund Halley’s prefatory ode printed in the first edition of The Principia.

*You can read a bit more on Newton in this post I wrote a couple of years ago over at Executed Today about his less well known life as a cop.  But on t his, his birthday, it probably makes more sense to ponder this work, and recall that when “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night/God said, Let Newton Be! and all was light.”

**This is always just a bit of a waffle.  Isaac  Newton’s Christmas birthday occurs in the Old-Style or Julian calendar still in use in England in 1641.  But given the arbitrary nature of the assignment of 25 Dec. as Jesus’s birthday, I don’t see much point in trying to maintain calendrical purity here.

Image: William Blake, Isaac Newton 1795

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One Comment on “An Important Birthday Today, I Hear…”

  1. I’m not big fan of Newton. Even otherwise – of Einstein. I’m intrigued by the picture 🙂
    I use the case to adv. my blog :

    I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

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