James Ussher: Biography And Contributions

James Ussher (1581-1656), was an archbishop and primate of all Ireland during the 17th century, known for his chronology of the earth, which creationists have taken as their banner. In this work he fixed the date of the most important events since the beginning of the world. one

He was an academic of theology. One of his specialties was to distinguish the original letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch from the apocryphal, which abounded in the Middle Ages . two

Ussher’s world chronology was published in his Annales Veteris Testamenti (Annals of the Old Testament). 3 Use the literal reading of the Bible as a basis to calculate the time elapsed from creation to certain events.

He set the creation to “the night before October 23, 4004 BC” at approximately 6:00 pm, taking the Julian calendar as a reference. 4

Its chronology was accepted in many intellectual circles until the 19th century, when it began to be thought that the Earth was millions of years old. 5

Biography

Early years

James Ussher was born on January 4, 1581, in Dublin, Ireland. Descendant of important lineages. His father was Arland Ussher, he was a clerk of the Chancellery with illustrious ancestry in Ireland and England; and his mother Margaret was the daughter of James Stanihurst, an Irish MP and judge. 6

Ussher’s only brother to reach adulthood was Ambroise. In 1594, at the age of 13, Ussher managed to enroll in the then newly created Trinity College in Dublin.

It was not unusual for young people of that age to enter university in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1598 he received a Bachelor of Arts from this house of studies. 7

Church of Ireland

In May 1602 Usher was ordained as a Protestant deacon of the Church of Ireland. At that time his uncle, Henry Ussher, 8 held the title of Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland (head of the Irish Church). 9

Ussher became Chancellor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1605, but he was always linked to the academy: in 1607 he entered as one of the professors of his alma mater, Trinity College. 10

In 1613, at age 32, Ussher married Phoebe Chancelloner. Six years later their daughter Elizabeth would be born, who married Timothy Tyrell. eleven

King James I, of the House of Stuarts, granted his favor to Ussher from a meeting held in 1621, when he nominated him to the position of Bishop of Meath. Two years later he became part of the King’s Privy Council and later Archbishop of Armagh. 12

Primate of all Ireland

James Ussher obtained the title of Primate of Ireland in 1626. 13 This is the religious leader of the Church of Ireland. Although Ussher was sympathetic to the Calvinist current, he tried to be moderate and to reconcile all Protestant currents under one structure.

By this time Carlos I reigned. 14 The conflicts that the country was going through required that the military force and the funds arose from all the territory. For this reason the idea of ​​giving certain liberties to Irish Catholics was raised, but Ussher and other bishops opposed it, so they were not approved. fifteen

English civil war

Ussher traveled to England in 1640, after which he did not return to his native island. Thanks to two qualities, he was able to win the favor of both sides in the tense English scene. First, your reputation as a recognized and respected academic. Second, his moderate Calvinism earned him the support of both Parliament and the king. 16

After the Irish uprising in 1641, the English Parliament awarded Ussher a pension of £ 400, while King Charles I granted him the diocese of Carlisle. 17

Ussher by nature was a royalist. He advised against the execution of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, who was always an ally of the king.

In 1642 he moved to Oxford. Four years later he returned to London and in 1647 was elected as the preacher of Lincoln’s Inn. It remained there until 1654. 18

Death

On March 21, 1656 James Ussher died 19 at the residence of the Countess of Peterborough in Reigate, Surrey. Oliver Cromwell was commissioned to give him a state funeral on April 17 and he was buried at Westminster Abbey. twenty

Contributions

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

In 1639 Ussher showed a first edition of his Antiquities of the British Churches . 21 In this work, the Archbishop of Armagh dedicated himself to separating the royal letters from the spurious ones of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, one of the Church fathers.

Some of his contemporaries did not give full credit to his investigations until several years later it was confirmed that they were true with the progressive appearance of some original Epistles. The last was discovered 50 years after Ussher’s publication. 22

Chronology

James Ussher’s most momentous work was Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti (Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the origin of the world). 23 He interpreted the Bible readings literally to determine the exact dates of the events narrated in it. 24

The time of creation according to Ussher was the evening of October 22, 4004 BC, according to the Julian calendar. Some have considered Ussher as the “father of creationism ”, not because he invented it, but because his calculations have been used as an argument flag by creationists.

Another of the events to which Ussher’s chronology gives an exact date is the birth of Christ, which he fixes in the year 5 AD, in this way he corrects the error that Dionysus and Exiguus made.

The difficulty that existed in establishing an exact chronology was that the authors of the Bible were diverse and it was written in several hundred years, which left empty spaces in history.

That is why Ussher crossed the data that appeared directly in the Bible with those of other texts, especially Greek, Roman and Jewish, from different sources to corroborate common facts.

However, since the 19th century it has been assumed that the Earth must be several million years old from its formation.

References

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). James Ussher | Anglo-Irish prelate . [online] Available at: britannica.com [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  2. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). James Ussher . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  3. Ussher, J. (1650). Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti . Londini: Ex officina J. Flesher.
  4. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Ussher chronology . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  5. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Ussher chronology . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  6. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. 8.
  7. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). James Ussher . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  8. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Henry Ussher . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  9. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Primacy of Ireland . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  10. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. XXI.
  11. Westminster Abbey. (2018). James Ussher | Westminster Abbey . [online] Available at: westminster-abbey.org/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  12. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. XXI.
  13. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. XXI.
  14. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). United Kingdom – Charles I (1625–49) . [online] Available at: britannica.com [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  15. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). James Ussher . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  16. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). James Ussher | Anglo-Irish prelate . [online] Available at: britannica.com [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  17. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). James Ussher . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  18. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. XXII.
  19. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. 369.
  20. Westminster Abbey. (2018). James Ussher | Westminster Abbey . [online] Available at: westminster-abbey.org/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  21. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. 312.
  22. Carr, J. (1895). The life and times of James Ussher . London: Gardner, Darton; p. 319.
  23. Ussher, J. (1650). Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti . Londini: Ex officina J. Flesher.
  24. En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Ussher chronology . [online] Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].

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