James Ussher

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Professor, Trinity College, Dublin,
Chancellor, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin,

James Ussher (sometimes spelled Usher) (4 January 1581 – 21 March 1656) was Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625–1656. He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar.



Ussher was born in Dublin, Ireland, into a well-to-do Anglo-Irish family. His maternal grandfather, James Stanihurst, had been speaker of the Irish parliament, and his father Arnold Ussher was a clerk in chancery who married Margaret Stanihurst.[1] Ussher's younger, and only surviving, brother, Ambrose, became a distinguished scholar of Arabic and Hebrew. According to his chaplain and biographer, Nicholas Bernard, the elder brother was taught to read by two blind, spinster aunts.

Ussher was a gifted polyglot, entering Dublin Free School and then the newly-founded (1591) Trinity College, Dublin on 9 January 1594, at the age of thirteen (not an unusual age at the time). He had received his Bachelor of Arts degree by 1598, and was a fellow and MA by 1600 (though Bernard claims he did not gain his MA till 1601). In May of 1602, he was ordained in the Trinity College Chapel as a deacon in the Protestant, established, Church of Ireland (and possibly priest on the same day) by his uncle Henry Ussher, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

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