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Published research errors
The internet cannot be blamed for poor research, but it has certainly contributed to its proliferation. A case in point is references to Archbishop Ussher’s chronology of creation.
In 1642, Dr. John Lightfoot wrote that man was created at 9:00 a.m., and in 1644, he wrote that the world was created on Sunday, September 12, 3928. In 1650, the Irish Archbishop, James Ussher, published his computations that the world was created on Sunday, October 23rd, 4004, beginning at sunset of the 22nd. Both these dates are widely misquoted.
Errors abound as can be seen on our Website Errors page. The errors written by Andrew Dickson White are noted on their own page. The following examples demonstrate both embellishment and simple error.
Within a half century of Usher’s labors, another great divine and Hebrew scholar, Dr. John Lightfoot, by methods comprehensible only to a theologian, went a step beyond Usher’s simple arithmetic, and placed creation week between October 18 and October 24 of 4004 B. C. with the creation of Adam on October 23, at approximately nine A.M., forty-fifth meridian time.
Creation, A History of Non-Evolutionary Theories. Edwin Tenney Brewster, A.M., Member of the History of Science Society. Illustrated. Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Publishers: 1927. [pp. 108-109]
The name was Ussher, the dates are wrong, Lightfoot was first, and although Lightfoot calculated from the position of Eden, he didn't define the location.
Perhaps the first of these was John Lightfoot [9], a distinguished Greek scholar and Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, who in 1642, deduced that the moment of creation was "9.00 o'clock in the morning on September seventeenth." He did not at this time indicate the year of creation, but in a later chapter of the same work in 1644, he stated that it was 3928 B.C..
Historical Geology. Third Edition. Carl O. Dunbar, Karl M. Waage. John Wiley & Sons. Inc., New York: 1969. [p. 22]
September 17th was the date Lightfoot believed that man was created, not the world. He wrote the hour on page 4 of A Few, and New Observations Upon the Book of Genesis in 1642. He gave a year in Section VIII [unpaginated] of The Harmony of the Four Evangelists.... in 1644; two different books.
During the 17th century, for example, Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland added up the ages of men cited in the Old Testament of the Bible and concluded that the creation had occurred in 4004 BC. John Lighfoot, an English divine and Hebraist, was so stimulated by this revelation that he additionally observed that the exact time was October 26 at 9:00 A.M.!
The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vol. 16. Hessle Filmore Garner. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., Chicago: 1998. [p. 706, c2].
Ussher based his calculation on more than simply adding lifespans. Lightfoot had published first. And neither mentioned October 26.
In 1654 he delivered the fruits of his lifetime of scholarship when he declared that the Creation had occurred on October 26, 4004 B.C., at 9:00 A.M.
The Discoverers. Daniel J. Boorstin. Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, New York: 1985 [p. 451].
Ussher first published in 1650; his calculated date was October 23; and he didn't give a time.
... John Lighfoot, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, who refined Ussher’s date by specifying the day and hour (October 16, at 9 a.m.) was an Englishman.
Only a theory. Philip Dunne. Harvard Magazine, May-June 1983. [p. 32].
Lightfoot’s calculations predated Ussher’s; he arrived at a date of September 12, 3928; and he didn't give a time for creation.
... and that the most probable moment of Creation had been at 9 am on 26 October 4004 BCas calculated by Bishop Ussher....
The Day the Universe Changed. James Burke. Little, Brown and Company, Boston: 1985. [p. 244].
Wrong date, wrong author of the time, and Ussher was an Archbishop.
When Bishop Ussher, an authority on biblical chronology, solemnly announced to his fellow churchmen that God began to forge the heavens and the earth at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, October 23, in the year 4004....
Before the Big Bang: The Big Foam . Marcia Bartusiak. From the book Thursday’s Universe by Marcia Bartusiak. Discover Magazine, September 1987, Vol. 8, No. 9. [p. 76].
Neither Ussher nor Lightfoot mention 2:30 in the afternoon.
Ussher’s calculations were refined by another 17th century divine, Dr. John Lightfoot, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, who computed that "Man was created by the Trinity on 23rd October, 4004 A.M., at nine o'clock in the morning."
The Encyclopedia of Evolution. Richard Milner. Facts on File, New York: 1990 [Entry for Ussher/Lightfoot Chronology].
The actual quote: "Man was created by the Trinity about the third houre of the day, or nine of the clocke in the morning."

No date is given.

Providential speculation was bound to change when the comfortable calculation of Archbishop Ussher (1650), settling the creation of the world at 8 a.m. on Saturday 22 October 4004 BC, was abandoned....
The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity John McManners, ed.. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1990 [pp. 2-3].
Neither Ussher nor Lightfoot mention this date or time.
...John Lightfoot completed his voluminous... calculation of the exact date for the creation of the universe--September 17, 3928 BC.

Eight years later James Ussher, an Anglican archbishop of Ireland, published his correction of Lightfoot’s date for creation, making it October 3, 4004BC....

In a final round of academic sparring, Lightfoot made an adjustment to Ussher’s date. He concluded that all creation took place during the week of October 18-24, 4004 BC, with the creation of Adam on October 23, at approximately nine A.M., forty-fifth meridian time. [pp. 25-26].
Creation and Time. Dr. Hugh Ross. Navpress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs: 1994.

Ross has confused Lightfoot’s dates for the creation of the world and the creation of man. Ussher’s date is wrong but that may simply be a typographical error. The third error is credited in a footnote to "Brewater, E.T. [sic] quoted in Ramm, Bernard, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), p. 174."
The most popular version, devised by Archbishop James Ussher in 1650 and widely propagated by inclusion in nearly all subsequent editions of the King James Bible, set the moment of creation at Oct. 23, 4004 B.C. — precisely at noon.
The end (of the end). Stephen Jay Gould. The New York Times Op-Ed, Thursday, October 23, 1997. [p. A37]..
Neither Ussher nor Lightfoot mention noon.
Ussher set the moment of creation at... 4004 B.C. (at noon on October 23).
Questioning the Millennium. Stephen Jay Gould. Harmony Books, New York: 1997. [p. 89].
Neither Ussher nor Lightfoot mention noon.

We are indebted to Charles H. Leighton (1924-2005), Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Humanities at the University of New Hampshire, for kindly providing this information. Photocopies of his research notes can be viewed at the Library at Grand Lodge.


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