GRG Golden Oldie: On the Newtonian limit of Einstein’s theory of gravitation by Jürgen Ehlers (1981)

© SpringerEhlers, J., Republication of: On the Newtonian limit of Einstein’s theory of gravitation, Gen Relativ Gravit (2019) 51: 163.

Golden Oldie

First Online: 10 December 2019

GRG 'Golden Oldie' commemorating the 90th birthday of Jürgen Ehlers (1929-2008) 


This paper has been selected by the Editors of General Relativity and Gravitation for re-publication in the Golden Oldies series because it introduced Frame Theory–a theoretical framework enabling a unified treatment of General Relativity and classical Newtonian gravitation. This in particular has applications whenever a Newtonian model is used to study a gravitating system, for example in cosmology. The accompanying editorial note by Thomas Buchert and Thomas Mädler discusses Frame Theory’s value and its impact on later developments. The original is in German and not in a readily available journal: it is presented here in English. This is the fifth Golden Oldie of which Jürgen Ehlers was a co-author or author (not to mention the several for which he contributed an editorial note): it appears in what would have been his 90th year.

Editorial Note:

An editorial note to this paper and a biography can be found in this issue preceding this Golden Oldie online via

Original paper: Ehlers, J.: “Über den Newtonschen Grenzwert der Einsteinschen Gravitationstheorie. In: Nitsch, J., Pfarr, J., Stachow, E.-W. (eds.) Grundlagenprobleme der modernen Physik: Festschrift für Peter Mittelstaedt zum 50. Geburtstag, pp. 65–84. Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim, Wien, Zürich (1981).

Translated and republished by permission of the Bibliographisches Institut, Berlin.

Translated by Thomas Mädler, Núcleo de Astronomía, Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad Diego Portales, Av. Ejército 441, Santiago, Chile.

Editor’s note: in the original references list, initials I. were rendered as J. (e.g. Shapiro, I. I. was printed as Shapiro, J. J.). Those errors have been corrected here.

See further comments on notation by the translator in the Appendix.

Editorial responsibility: Malcolm A. H. MacCallum,

GRG Golden Oldies:

The Golden Oldies series of the journal General Relativity and Gravitation reprints important papers in general relativity theory that were published 30 or more years ago and are either hard to get hold of, or were originally printed in a language other than English.