Search the Collection

William Whiston (1667-1752), Mathematician and divine

Sitter in 5 portraits
Whiston is remembered for reviving the heretical views of Arianism. Ordained in 1693, he served initially as chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich. He wrote A New Theory of the Earth (1696), which claimed that many biblical stories could be explained scientifically as accounts of events with historical bases. In 1701, he became assistant to Isaac Newton, Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University; two years later Whiston succeeded him. From the works of early Christian writers, Whiston was led to Arianism, a doctrine that denied the full divinity of Christ. After being deprived of this post in 1710 because of his unpopular notions, Whiston organised a society for the revival of primitive Christianity.

List Thumbnail


William Whiston

after Sarah Hoadly
oil on canvas, (circa 1720?)
NPG 243


William Whiston

by Unknown artist
miniature wooden head
NPG 733


William Whiston

by George Vertue, after Sarah Hoadly
line engraving, 1720
NPG D32501


William Whiston

by George Vertue
engraving, published 1720
NPG D13950


William Whiston

by Benjamin Wilson
etching, 1753
NPG D8302