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Anno Mundi

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Anno Mundi or A.M. means "Year of the World" in Latin. It is a measure of time with reference to the creation of the Earth as recorded in Genesis, which corresponds to (Date::4004 BC).

Date of Creation

The years from creation to Abraham's death are relatively easy to calculate from the genealogies of Genesis and the years from the birth of Jesus Christ until today are calculable within 3-4 years from state records. Some ambiguity arises between Abraham and Jesus, a period for which precise records are lacking and approximations must be drawn from a variety of sources.

James Ussher

James Ussher[1] calculated the date of Creation by the following means:

  • He accepted the date of the death of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon at 562 BC.[2]
  • He then assumed that Evil-Merodach began to reign in that year.[3]
  • King Jehoiachin received a pension from Evil-Merodach beginning in this year, and that he was taken captive 37 years before then, or in 599 BC.[4] (The final Fall of Jerusalem occurred eleven years later; hence Ussher places the Fall of Jerusalem in 588 BC, not 586 BC as most secular archaeologists assume.)
  • From that anchor point, Ussher worked backward through the king lists of the Divided Kingdoms Northern and Southern. See I and II Kings.
  • He worked backward further to set the dates-of-reign of King Solomon, and calculated the Exodus of Israel at 480 years earlier than the groundbreaking of the Temple, which was in Solomon's fourth year.[5] This fell in 1012 BC, and so Ussher fixed the Exodus at 1491 BC.
  • Based on his interpretation of Galatians 3:17 , Ussher then fixed the date of the entry of Abraham into Canaan. This was in 1921 BC.
  • Ussher here made a key assumption that is in great dispute. We read that Abraham was 75 years old when he embarked into Canaan.[6] We also read that Terah was 70 years old when he "begat" Abraham, Nahor (the younger), and Haran.[7] Ussher's assumption, which added another sixty years to the reckoning of Creation, was this: that Abraham did not embark on his own until after Terah had died at the age of 205.[8] This would mean that Terah was actually 130 years old, not 70, when Abraham was born--and presumably that Nahor the Younger or Haran was born when Terah was 70. Ussher's sole warrant for this assumption is that the Bible describes Abraham's departure after it describes Terah's "death." But Terah's "death" might be spiritual rather than physical, in that Terah had originally intended to take all his family out of Ur of the Chaldees and into Canaan, but forgot his purpose and grew too accustomed to worldly enticements in the country of Haran. If that is the case, then Abraham might have departed when Terah was still alive--which is what the inventors of the present Hebrew calendar assumed.
  • Ussher then backtracked the pedigree of Abraham to Arphaxad, born to Shem two years after the Global Flood.[9] He therefore concluded that the Great Flood happened in 2349 BC.
  • Finally, Ussher backtracked the genealogy of Shem to Adam.[10] He further concluded that Creation must have occurred during the Autumnal Equinox, which in fact is the favorite start of many of the world's calendars, ancient and modern. He also assumed that the ancient Hebrews did not attempt to synchronize their months with the moon until after their exile into Babylonia. He thus calculated the date of creation at October 23, 4004 BC according to the Julian calendar.

James Ussher's calculation was the best-sourced calculation in all of Christendom at the time. Ussher also spoke with authority, and from a position of authority. For those reasons, his dates for various Biblical events appeared in the middle margins of King James Bibles for centuries, until the last quarter of the twentieth century, when publishers abandoned this practice.


Jewish scholars have proposed several dates for the time of creation. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica the exact date of October 7, 3761 BC is now generally accepted in Judaism.[11]

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "According to the current Jewish reckoning the calendar is dated from the Creation of the World, which is considered to have taken place 3760 years and 3 months before the commencement of the Christian Era. To find the number of the Hebrew year, beginning in the autumn of a given year of our common era, we have to add 3761 to the number of the latter. Thus the Jewish year beginning September, 1908, is 5669 A.M."[12]

Related References

  1. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 1ff.
  2. James Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 891
  3. James Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 892
  4. II_Kings 25:27-30
  5. I_Kings 6:1
  6. Genesis 12:4
  7. Genesis 11:26
  8. Genesis 11:32
  9. Genesis 11
  10. Genesis 5
  11. Author unknown. "Entry for Anno Mundi." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  12. Gigot, Francis E. (Rick McCarty, trans.). "Entry for Jewish Calendar." The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Retrieved June 24, 2007.
  • The Christian News of March 26, 2001 (page 18), by Theodore Pederson

See Also