Ussher’s calculations, published in the Annals of the Old Testament, Deduced From the First Origins of the World , strike most modern sensibilities as absurd. Except for a few Young Earth Creationists, believers and nonbelievers alike agree that if a supernatural entity created the universe, it happened about But Ussher was far from the first person to wildly miscalculate the universe’s age. Indeed, dating the universe was quite the scholarly fad. Among others to try their hand were Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton , both of whom arrived at estimates younger than Ussher’s. All labored without a number of modern tools — not only for measuring radioactive decay or rates of the universal expansion, but an intellectual framework for conceiving of time on scales beyond the biblical. That wouldn’t exist for another century, when a Scottish farmer and geological enthusiast named James Hutton , looking at riverbank stone formations, saw a record of sedimentary deposition that couldn’t be contained in 6, years.
Archbishop Ussher’s book dating the creation
A 17th-century Irish prelate reached the heights of scientific sophistication in estimating Earth’s age, writes Mary Mulvihill. In the archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher, began counting all the “begats” in the Old Testament. He also studied ancient Egyptian and Hebrew texts, analysed how the ancient calendars were calculated and came up with a date for the Creation. The world, he concluded, had begun one weekend in BC – specifically, on the evening before October 23rd.
fixed dates of Assyrian and Babylonian chronology, without leaning on the work of In this work Ussher, who utilized the “Christian Era,” dated the creation of.
In , James Ussher assembled a chronology of Old Testament events. From them he concluded that the Creation of the world took place in approx. This view is commonly held by many Christians. However, it is difficult to substantiate this date, but it has served as an adequate estimate of the date of Creation for some time. However, is it possible to do a better job of calculating the date? And if a more accurate date is determined, can we draw some interesting inferences from it that would apply to our day and time?
The chronology first appeared in The Annals of the Old Testament , a monumental work first published in London in the summer of Ussher lived through momentous times, having been born during the reign of Elizabeth and dying, in , under Cromwell. He was a talented fast-track scholar who entered Trinity College in Dublin at the early age of thirteen, became an ordained priest by the age of twenty, and a professor at Trinity by twenty-seven.
He located and studied thousands of ancient books and manuscripts, written in many different languages. By the time of his death, he had amassed a library of over 10, volumes.
Ussher was an antiquarian, with a lively interest in the still-imprecise science of dating, especially in the chronological Black Hole of the Old.
The Ussher chronology is a 17th-century chronology of the history of the world formulated from a literal reading of the Old Testament by James Ussher , the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The chronology is sometimes associated with young Earth creationism , which holds that the Universe was created only a few millennia ago by God as described in the first two chapters of the biblical book of Genesis.
Ussher fell into disrepute in the 19th century. Published in , the full title of Ussher’s work in Latin is Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti, una cum rerum Asiaticarum et Aegyptiacarum chronico, a temporis historici principio usque ad Maccabaicorum initia producto “Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world, the chronicle of Asiatic and Egyptian matters together produced from the beginning of historical time up to the beginnings of Maccabees “.
Ussher’s work was his contribution to the long-running theological debate on the age of the Earth. This was a major concern of many Christian scholars over the centuries. The chronology is sometimes called the Ussher—Lightfoot chronology because John Lightfoot published a similar chronology in — This, however, is a misnomer, as the chronology is based on Ussher’s work alone and not that of Lightfoot.
The man who dated Creation at Oct. 23, 4004 BC
The interpretation of ancient texts is a tricky enterprise, and the more ambiguous the text, the more difficult it is to come to a concrete, widely-accepted interpretation. As such, the Genesis Creation account is often difficult to deal with – is it reliable history as written, or ambiguous and difficult to believe? Debate is heated even within the Christian community. Biblical literalists ascribe to the viewpoint that the Bible is to be interpreted literally except for certain poetic passages.
Ussher’s proposed date of BC differed little from other biblically-based estimates, such as those of Jose ben Halafta ( BC), Bede ( BC), Ussher’s.
The Ussher chronology is a 17th-century chronology of the history of the world formulated from a literal reading of the Bible by James Ussher , the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh in what is now Northern Ireland. The chronology is sometimes associated with Young Earth Creationism , which holds that the universe was created only a few millennia ago. Ussher’s work, more properly known as the Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world , was his contribution to the long-running theological debate on the age of the Earth.
This was a major concern of many Christian scholars over the centuries. The chronology is sometimes called the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology because John Lightfoot published a similar chronology in — This, however, is a misnomer, as the chronology is based on Ussher’s work alone and not that of Lightfoot. Ussher deduced that the first day of creation began at nightfall preceding Sunday October 23, BC, in the proleptic Julian calendar , near the autumnal equinox.
Lightfoot similarly deduced that Creation began at nightfall near the autumnal equinox, but in the year BC. This view had been almost completely abandoned by , six thousand years after BC. Today some biblical scholars, as well as a number of literalist evangelical Christians , believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible calling for a year-old Earth.
The chronologies of Ussher and other biblical scholars corresponded so closely because they used much the same methodology to calculate key events recorded in the Bible.
BISHOP USSHER DATES THE WORLD: 4004 BC
Of his many works, his treatise on chronology has proved the most durable. Based on an intricate correlation of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean histories and Holy writ, it was incorporated into an authorized version of the Bible printed in , and thus came to be regarded with almost as much unquestioning reverence as the Bible itself. A Geological Miscellany.
Princeton University Press, Ussher’s spellings have been faithfully kept in the following excerpt. Now if the series of the three minor cicles be from this present year extended backward unto precedent times, the years before the beginning of our Christian account will be found to be that year into which the first year of the indiction, the first of the Lunar Cicle, and the first of the Solar will fall.
Up until fairly recently, nearly all printings of the King James Bible included dates in the marginal notes which helped place Biblical events in their chronological.
Up until fairly recently, nearly all printings of the King James Bible included dates in the marginal notes which helped place Biblical events in their chronological context. Using this as a guide we can see that “God created the heaven and the earth” in b. Obviously, the numbers are helpful in understanding the sequence and timing of events, but where did they come from, and are they reliable?
The chronology was derived by Archbishop James Ussher, and first published in a. Born in Ireland, he rose rapidly in the ranks of the Anglican Church, renowned for his scholarship, mastery of Semitic and classical languages, and voluminous knowledge of history. Widely published on many subjects, his most important work was “The Annals of the World,” which covered and calendarized all important historical events, beginning at creation and extending to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.
In compiling this history, Ussher made use of extensive collections of documents in England and throughout Europe. Some of these were first-hand accounts of events which were never widely circulated and have since disappeared. His primary interest was Biblical history and how secular events impacted it, but his Annals included much information about early Romans, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians, which was never published elsewhere. For centuries Annals was a primary source document.
A defense of Bishop James Ussher
He is most famous for calculating what was believed, at the time, to be the exact first day of creation based on a detailed examination of the Bible and of older chronologies and calendars. The date which he arrived at — the night preceding October 23, BCE — is still used by many young earth creationists today. The chronology Ussher devised gives the following biblically identified dates for important events.
The main distinction between Ussher and other significantly different i.
In so doing, he concluded that the Earth was only about 5, years old. It’s easy to ridicule the bishop and his date, but to do so misses a larger point. Ussher’s.
Scores of attempts have been made to compute the actual date of the earliest Biblical event–the creation. The most famous was undoubtedly that made by Bishop James Ussher in the seventeenth century. James Ussher was born in Dublin, Ireland in and died in England in He lived through a time of tremendous political and religious upheaval in his native Ireland and in England.
Though he was a Puritan in theology, he was a royalist in his stedfastness to the king and the principle of divine right of kings. Invited to participate in the Westminster Assembly, which eventually wrote the Westminster Confession and Catechism, Ussher refused because he thought the assembly itself was illegal. In his day Ussher was an eminent scholar known to the foremost thinkers and statesmen in England. His collected works total seventeen volumes; the most famous of these is his Annals of the Old and New Testament, published in the ‘s.
The work is a detailed chronology and dating of Biblical history. It is in this work that Ussher said God created the world on the morning of this day, October 23, B. He arrived at this date, in part, by adding the ages of Adam and his descendants found in Genesis 5 and He assumed that the Old Testament genealogies did not omit any names and that the periods of time in the texts were all consecutive.
Scholars today question both assumptions.
Ussher is best known for his work in biblical chronology and, more specifically, for his dating of creation to the 23rd October, BC. Later writers refined his thesis and argued that creation occurred at 6. His interest lay not in establishing a specific date but presenting a framework for the history of mankind. For Ussher what lay in the past explained the present and pointed to the future Second Coming of Christ.
Ussher was not alone in his interest in biblical chronology. This was by no means an easy task and required a knowledge of several languages and disciplines for the adept scholar to make any progress.
Lightfoot similarly deduced that Creation began at nightfall near the autumnal equinox, but in the year BC. Ussher’s proposed date of BC differed.
Cultures throughout history have believed the world formed or was formed at some time in the past, so methods of dating Creation have involved analysing scriptures and some physical data. Different historical cultures put the creation of the world at different dates. Many historical calendars were based on these dates. The Bible begins with the Book of Genesis , in which God creates the world, including the first human, a man named Adam , in six days. Genesis goes on to list many of Adam’s descendants, in many cases giving the ages at which they had children and died.
If these events and ages are interpreted literally throughout, it is possible to build up a chronology in which many of the events of the Old Testament are dated to an estimated number of years after the Creation. Some scholars have gone further, and have attempted to tie in this Biblical chronology with that of recorded history , thus establishing a date for the Creation in a modern calendar. Since there are periods in the Biblical story where dates are not given, the chronology has been subject to interpretation in many different ways, resulting in a variety of estimates of the date of Creation.
These were calculated from the genealogies in two versions of the Bible, with most of the difference arising from two versions of Genesis. The older dates are based on the Septuagint. This translation was used by some Jews until about , then by Christians until , then by the Byzantines until , and is still used by the various Orthodox churches.
The later dates are based on the Hebrew text of the Torah the precursor of the Masoretic text , which is still used by Jews.
The Fall of the Date of Ussher
Depicted are, from top to bottom: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, flanked by the figures of Solomon and Nebuchadnezzar builder and destroyer of the first Temple respectively ; the first Temple and its destruction; the second Temple and its destruction; and, flanking a scene of the Last Supper, the figures of Cyrus and Vespasian facilitator and destroyer of the second Temple respectively. From catalogue no.
A staunch defender of episcopacy, he was nevertheless respected on all sides during the religious upheavals of the s and s, and regarded as the person most likely to achieve an accommodation between the Presbyterians and the Church of England. As such, he was valued by Hartlib and Dury, both of whom helped him at times with his scholarly work and looked to him as a potential patron for their own schemes. Despite his success as a churchman, Ussher is perhaps most famous for having dated the start of the creation to the evening before 23rd October, B.
Ussher calculated this timing in his Annals , a work of biblical chronology which he published in Latin in Hartlib noted its progress through the press with great interest , and which was translated into English in
Despite his success as a churchman, Ussher is perhaps most famous for having dated the start of the creation to the evening before 23rd October, B.C.
Houston — A reference in one of my columns to the evolution of language once produced a letter from a subscriber who professed himself shocked that I should believe English had evolved from some Germanic language, when “everybody knew” that prior to May 17, B. God had punished a sinful humanity, which had been trying to reach Heaven by building a ziggurat tower of Babel, by confusing their tongues, creating on the spot all the language now spoken.
It may have been a leg-pull, but the writer made his point well. If scripture is taken as an infallible bedrock for historical data, it can lead to all manner of untenable positions — of which the creation of species is by no means the only. Of particular interest is the date given for the destruction of Babel, May 17, B. The Old Testament, of course, makes no mention of such dates, but the writer hadn’t pulled it out of then air.
He had taken it from the Archbishop Ussher chronology.