Did you know that sometime during this night and before dawn of 23 October marks the anniversary of the creation of the universe?

Oh yes!


So says the Irish Anglican primate of Ireland, Bishop James Ussher (+1654).

You can read more about this in Ussher’s Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti  … Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world

For as much as our Christian epoch falls many ages after the
beginning of the world, and the number of years before that
backward is not only more troublesome, but (unless greater care be
taken) more lyable to errour; also it hath pleased our modern
chronologers, to adde to that generally received hypothesis (which
asserted the Julian years, with their three cycles by a certain
mathematical prolepsis, to have run down to the very beginning of
the world) an artificial epoch, framed out of three cycles
multiplied in themselves; for the Solar Cicle being multiplied by
the Lunar, or the number of 28 by 19, produces the great Paschal
Cycle of 532 years, and that again multiplied by fifteen, the
number of the indiction, there arises the period of 7980 years,
which was first (if I mistake not) observed by Robert Lotharing,
Bishop of Hereford, in our island of Britain, and 500 years after
by Joseph Scaliger fitted for chronological uses, and called by the
name of the Julian Period, because it conteined a cycle of so many
Julian years. Now if the series of the three minor cicles be from
this present year extended backward unto precedent times, the 4713
years before the beginning of our Christian account will be found
to be that year into which the first year of the indiction, the
first of the Lunar Cicle, and the first of the Solar will fall.
Having placed there fore the heads of this period in the kalends
of January in that proleptick year, the first of our Christian
vulgar account must be reckoned the 4714 of the Julian Period,
which, being divided by 15. 19. 28. will present us with the 4
Roman indiction, the 2 Lunar Cycle, and the 10 Solar, which are the
principal characters of that year.

We find moreover that the year of our fore-fathers, and the years
of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews were of the same quantity with
the Julian, consisting of twelve equal moneths, every of them
conteining 30 days, (for it cannot be proved that the Hebrews did
use lunary moneths before the Babylonian Captivity) adjoying to
the end of the twelfth moneth, the addition of five dayes, and
every four year six. And I have observed by the continued
succession of these years, as they are delivered in holy writ, that
the end of the great Nebuchadnezars and the beginning of
Evilmerodachs (his sons) reign, fell out in the 3442 year of the
world, but by collation of Chaldean history and the astronomical
cannon, it fell out in the 186 year c Nabonasar, and, as by certain
connexion, it must follow in the 562 year before the Christian
account, and of the Julian Period, the 4152. and from thence I
gathered the creation of the world did fall out upon the 710 year of
the Julian Period, by placing its beginning in autumn: but for as
much as the first day of the world began with the evening of the
first day of the week, I have observed that the Sunday, which in
the year 710 aforesaid came nearest the Autumnal Æquinox, by
astronomical tables (notwithstanding the stay of the sun in the
dayes of Joshua, and the going back of it in the dayes c Ezekiah)
happened upon the 23 day of the Julian October; from thence
concluded that from the evening preceding that first day of the
Julian year, both the first day of the creation and the first
motion of time are to be deduced.

— J. Ussher, The Annals of the World iv (1658)

You’ve got to hand it to his guy.  He was mentally agile!  Imagine the time it took for him to sort through the references and come up with this stuff! 


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dob says:

    Lethal combination – English facination for detail coupled with the Irish gift of the gab. The Anglicans really wasted this chap’s talents. They should have sent him around the country preaching. The whole Irish nation would have converted en masse just to get him to shut up.

  2. Bill Haley says:

    And I thought it was nice to have our anniversary on the feast of St. John of Capistrano. Wait till I tell my wife, “Our marriage began on the same day that time began.”

    Is it a solemnity?

  3. David says:

    It was March 25th.

  4. Timothy James says:

    Does this mean the next seven days are ALL the anniversary of creation? And the sixth the anniversary of the creation of man?

  5. Jean-Luc DeLacroix says:

    …ah the fruit of Sola Scriptura…but this guy’s a protestant, so he doesn’t believe in evolution…but is admitedly a anglican “primate”…so there’s a real case for de-volution.

    For real though…A Beka books prints this guy’s stuff in it’s sciene textbooks (to go along with all that the Catholic Church is a Satanic cult responsible for every evil that’s ever befallen anyone stuff they put in their social studies texts). Scary…real scary.


  6. Happy Birthday, Universe!

    Hmmm, I like what Timothy James said. But would it not be more appropriate to just plan a big party and work at getting it ready for six days, then have the party on the seventh day?

  7. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Doesnt Ussher use the Julian calendar here, not the Gregorian?

  8. Tim Ferguson says:

    Sounds like as good an excuse for a Guiness as any. Ein prosit!

  9. Domenico says:

    We may remember this excerpt “Ex Martyrologio Romano: Die 25 decembris”

    “Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit caelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono (5199-th year); a diluvio autem, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo (2957-th year); a nativitate Abrahae, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo (2015-th year); a Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo (1510-th year); ab unctione David in Regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo (1032-th year); Hebdomada sexagesima quinta (65th), juxta Danielis prophetiam; Olympiade centesima nonagesima quarta (194-th); ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo (752-th year); anno Imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo (42th year), toto Orbe in pace composito, sexta mundi aetate, Jesus Christus, aeternus Deus aeternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piissimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus, in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo.”

    For the Gregorian calendar : from Wikipedia.
    “The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world. A modification of the Julian calendar, it … was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, for whom it was named, on 24 February 1582 via the papal bull ‘Inter gravissimas’ …
    Most non-Catholic countries initially objected to adopting a Catholic invention, especially during the Counter-Reformation (of which Gregory was a leading proponent); some Protestants feared the new calendar was part of a plot to return them to the Catholic fold. … The Kingdom of Great Britain and thereby the rest of the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 under the provisions of the Calendar Act 1750.”

  10. Domenico:  Anno a creatione mundi

    Good reminder! Well done!

  11. Jeff Pinyan says:

    We’re in the octave of creation!

  12. Paul Priest says:

    sorry to be pedantic; but ‘Bishop’ Ussher said the world was created the night before 23rd October…
    hate to be a spoilsport !

  13. jaykay says:

    He was certainly no fan of the Church, however, although his mother was Catholic like many of the “old English” in Ireland. Get this: “The religion of the papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical; their church in respect of both, apostatical; to give them therefore a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion, and profess their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin”.

    The Church of Ireland was always very “low” and despite being an Archbishop one can surmise that he was probably no great fan of the English Laudian high church.

    There’s a good biography of him on Wikipedia.

  14. Paul Priest writes:

    sorry to be pedantic; but ‘Bishop’ Ussher said the world was created the night before 23rd October…
    hate to be a spoilsport !

    It’s still the anniversary, until evening tonight.

    “…and the evening and the morning were the first day.”

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