Archbishop James Ussher’s fabled date of 4004 bc for the Creation of the World was not his, and was not introduced to English Bibles by him. Long before Ussher, the number 4004 had arisen from the period of Adam’s captivity, four thousand years, to which had been added a four-year adjustment to the early Christian calendar. These two component numbers were wholly unrelated. Ussher’s famous work Annals of the World cited dates in three ways: (1) according to the Julian Period, (2) as ‘Years of the World’ beginning at the Creation, and (3) as years Before Christ, or bc. Printing of dates bc in English Bibles, for example 4004 bc, was introduced in 1701, almost fifty years after Ussher’s death, by William Lloyd, chronologer, scholar, politician and, at that time, Bishop of Worcester.

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