James ussher dating system

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.

Roman poet Lucretius, intellectual heir to the Greek atomists, believed its formation must have been relatively recent, given that there were no records going back beyond the Trojan War.

The Talmudic rabbis, Martin Luther and others used the biblical account to extrapolate back from known history and came up with rather similar estimates for when the earth came into being.

even the very pyramids.” The 18th century saw the spread of canal building, which led to the discovery of strata correlated over great distances, and James Hutton’s recognition that unconformities between successive layers implied that deposition had been interrupted by enormously long periods of tilt and erosion.

By 1788 Hutton had formulated a theory of cyclic deposition and uplift, with the earth indefinitely old, showing “no vestige of a beginning—no prospect of an end.” Hutton considered the present to be the key to the past, with geologic processes driven by the same forces as those we can see at work today.

The book was the fruit of many years labour; as early as the summer of 1640, Ussher had been reported 'spend[ing] constantly all the afternoones' in the Bodleian working at it (Constantine Adams to Hartlib, Hartlib Papers, 15/8/3A-4B).

He inferred that where the layers are not horizontal, they must have been tilted since their deposition and noted that different strata contain different kinds of fossil.

Robert Hooke, not long after, suggested that the fossil record would form the basis for a chronology that would “far antedate ...

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 He arrived at this date, in part, by adding the ages of Adam and his descendants found in Genesis 5 and 11. Nevertheless, Ussher's chronology is the earliest and the most celebrated attempt at Biblical chronology in English.

After his death, his extensive and valuable library, formed the nucleus of the great library of Trinity College, Dublin.

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