23 Oct: Not The Beginning Of The World

According to the 17th-century Archbishop James Ussher, the world began on 23rd October, 4004 BC at precisely midday.

Today, it is easy to ridicule Ussher’s date – and plenty of people do – but his methodology was scrupulous and his calculations were in line with most of the best estimates of his age.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss what was behind the 17th Century fascination with the age of the Earth; investigate how the Gideon Society made Ussher a household name; and ask whether Ussher was the original superfan (with the caveat that his area of nerdy obsession happened to be Biblical chronology)…

Further Reading:

• ‘Chronologies: The date of the world’s beginning’ (University of Cambridge, 2022): https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/reformation/artifacts/the-date-of-the-worlds-beginning/ 

• ‘How an archbishop calculated the Creation’ (The Irish Times, 2003): https://www.irishtimes.com/news/how-an-archbishop-calculated-the-creation-1.378556 

• ‘The Annals of the World by James Ussher’ (BBC, 2022): https://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/wMDRZOpFQCCJwqJGg-qwCQ 

• ‘The man who dated Creation at Oct. 23, 4004 BC’ (The Globe and Mail, 2010): https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-man-who-dated-creation-at-oct-23-4004-bc/article4084451/ 

• ‘Theologians in Conversation; James Ussher: Creation of Reputation’ (University of Nottingham, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq-8TJRpYjA 

This episode first premiered in 2022, for members of 🌴CLUB RETROSPECTORS🌴 – where you can also DITCH THE ADS and get weekly bonus bits, unlock over 70 bits of extra content and support our independent podcast. Join now via Apple Podcasts or Patreon. Thanks!