Annales Veteris Testamenti

Annales Veteris Testamenti
James Ussher, in Annals of the Old Covenant (Annales Veteris Testamenti, 1650-54), calculated a figure of 4004 B.C. for the start of all time (i.e., “The Creation”). The text displayed here highlights his method in the margins of each page, with the date of each event, birth, or death calculated from the longevity of each generation, listed to the left or right of the corresponding biblical verse. This age has become the most (in)famous of the figures calculated by early chronologists, but it was one of dozens of short timescales proposed by analysists of historical textual records, with most deriving an estimate of only a few millennia for the age of the Earth. By the 18th century, the consensus view of most savants, and certainly all of those featured in this exhibit, was that this timescale was wholly inadequate to explain the growing evidence collected by natural historians. Yet Ussher’s calculation and methods, and others like it, served as both an intellectual opposite endmember to proposals of an infinite world (see James Hutton in History in the Layers), and spurred influential savants, most notably Georges Cuvier and William Buckland, to attempt to link Earth’s history in deep-time to the textual events in human history (e.g. the Deluge of Noah).
Call Number (click link to view in library catalog)
Q. 930 US7A
Ussher, James
Full Title
Annales Veteris Testamenti, A Prima Mundi Origine Dedvcti
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Bibliographic Citation
Ussher, James. Annales Veteris Testamenti. London, 1654.