James Ussher was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1625 to 1656. Based on his studies of the Bible he calculated that the creation of the world began in October 4004 BC. Ussher’s dates were adopted for use by the Church of England in its official Bible in 1701.
James Ussher was born in Dublin on January 4th 1581. He is listed as the second student admitted to Trinity College Dublin, which had opened on January 9th 1593. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree by 1598 and a Master’s degree in 1600. He was ordained a priest in 1602.
Ussher worked in Trinity College Dublin in various capacities before being appointed Bishop of Meath in 1621. He studied church history and was a collector of Irish manuscripts. He was a passionate supporter of the Reformation and was strongly opposed to concessions being made to Irish Catholics by King Charles 1.
Believing in the literal truth of the Bible, Ussher set about calculating the beginning of creation. In 1650 he published Annales Veteris Testamenti (Annals of the Old Testament). Allowing 365 days in each year he calculated various events in the Bible, including that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on November 10th 4004 BC. He also calculated that on May 5th 2348 BC, the Ark touched down on Mt Ararat. It was suggested that Ussher had also predicted that the world would end on October 22nd 1996. However he never made any such prediction.
James Ussher Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, calculated that the creation of the world began at midday in the year 4004 BC On This Day.