Who was James Ussher? James Ussher or Usher lived from 4 January to 21 March In speech and writing, he led a fierce battle against the Roman church and the pope, but this was also during the Reformation. He was a productive teacher and church leader who today is most famous for his chronology, seeking to establish the time and date of creation as around noon. He believed that Israel was in Egypt for only years.
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James Ussher James Ussher, was one of the greatest scholars and theologians of his time. In his enduring search for knowledge he travelled widely in Britain and Europe, seeking the earliest available manuscripts, buying those he could, and copying others. After his death, his extensive and valuable library, formed the nucleus of the great library of Trinity College, Dublin.
James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh, was the pre-eminent figure in the contemporary Church of Ireland, and a leading patron of scholarship at Trinity College, Dublin. 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 In the Annals, Ussher developed the chronological work of many earlier scholars, in particular Joseph Justus Scaliger who had pioneered the use of the Julian period in calendrical calculations to provide a framework for dating the whole Bible historically.
He argued that, although scripture itself only tended to take notice of entire years, the Holy Ghost had left clues in the Bible which allowed the critic to establish a precise chronology of its events, through the application to the text of the results of astronomical calculations and its comparison with the dates of pagan history.
Its findings were attacked by those who were persuaded that the Greek translation of the Old Testament the Septuagint or the Samaritan Pentateuch both of which presented different chronologies from the Hebrew were more reliable witnesses to the dictation of the Holy Ghost, or that they concurred more closely with the evidence of astronomy and pagan history. Despite such debates, most seventeenth-century readers of the Bible would have agreed with Ussher that it ought, in principle, to have been possible to establish an accurate and detailed biblical chronology.
Illustrated opposite is the title-page from the Annals, engraved by Francis Barlow and Richard Gaywood. Adam and Eve are flanked by the figures of Solomon and Nebuchadnezzar, the builder and destroyer of the first Temple, which is also shown both in its glory and after its fall.
The engraving also depicts the second Temple, built after Cyrus allowed the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and its eventual destruction.
It was executed for the London printseller, Peter Stent, who advertised it for sale in , , , and
James Ussher's Annals of the World
Establishing the chronologies is complicated by the fact that the Bible was compiled by different authors over several centuries with lengthy chronological gaps, making it difficult to do a simple totaling of Biblical ages and dates. Ussher used the chronology found in the Masoretic text instead of the alternative chronologies found in the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch. Ussher fixed this period as years, from to BC. Thus the temple foundations were laid years after Abraham left Haran; these years spanned from to BC. After reckoning the years from creation to the last kings of Judah, Ussher used 2 Kings to establish the length of time from the creation to the accession of Babylonian king Amel-Marduk also known as Evil-Merodach. Others, including Ussher, thought it more likely that it had occurred in the autumn , largely because that season marked the beginning of the Jewish year.
Annals of the World
Learn how and when to remove this template message Ussher now concentrated on his research and writing and returned to the study of chronology and the church fathers. After a work on the origin of the Creeds , Ussher published a treatise on the calendar in This was a warm-up for his most famous work, the Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti "Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world" , which appeared in , and its continuation, Annalium pars posterior, published in In this work, he calculated the date of the Creation to have been nightfall on 22 October BC. Other scholars, such as Cambridge academic, John Lightfoot , calculated their own dates for the Creation. The time of the Ussher chronology is frequently misquoted as being 9 a.