Ussher, James, 1581-1656
Strange and remarkable prophesies and predictions of the holy, learned, and excellent James Usher, late L. Arch-Bishop of Armagh, and Lord Primate of Ireland: giving an account of his foretelling I. The rebellion in Ireland forty years before it came to pass. II. The confusions and miseries of England, in Church and state. III. The death of King Charles the First. IV. His own poverty and want. V. The divisions in England in matters of religion. Lastly, of a great and terrible persecution which shall fall upon the reformed churches by the papists, wherein the then Pope should be chiefly concerned.
London: Printed for R.G., 1678.

Ussher (1581-1656), an Irish theologian and scholar, at one time had possibly the largest collection of books in Western Europe. A tireless collector, he eventually donated the collection to Trinity College, Dublin, which his uncle Henry Ussher had helped found. During his lifetime he was widely known as a defender of learning, of the value of books secular and sacred, and a proponent of maintaining an independent identity for Irish Protestant faith. He was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in 1625.

Ussher is best remembered today for his chronological study, the Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (1650-54), Using the Book of Genesis, he painstakingly followed the series of "begats" back in time and determined that the universe was created in the year 4004 BC, on October 23. (The computation of the time can be ascribed to John Lightfoot, who further pinpointed this to 9 a.m., London time, or midnight in the Garden of Eden.) This chronology was inserted in the margins of many editions of the Authorized Version of the Bible ("King James Version") in the 19th century, and has been used as "proof" of the fallacy of evolution, molecular biology, astrophysics and many other scientific endeavors in the 20th century.

Ussher also calculated the dates of other biblical events, concluding, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC, and that the ark touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 1491 BC 'on a Wednesday'.

But Ussher was also interested in how long the world would last and in foretelling other events. Since the Genesis account said the world was made in seven days, he reasoned that it should last seven thousand years, a thousand years for a day. By his reckoning there would be 4,000 years from creation until Jesus was to be born, 2,000 until he returned at his second coming, and another 1,000 for the millennium described in the Book of Revelation.