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De Moor VIII:20: The Time of Creation, Part 2

How far we may be removed from that beginning, it is hardly possible to make a determination at all with precision and certainty; on account of various Chronological Questions, first, in the Ante-Diluvian History; in which the Septuagint Version’s computation of the Years from Adam to the Flood exceeds the Hebrew Codices by six hundred entire years, and so also Josephus.  Now, from the Flood to the birth of Abraham, in the one hundred and thirtieth year of Terah, the Greeks exceed by roughly eight hundred and eighty years, yet with the Reading of the Codices varying:  which happens both on account of the insertion of Cainan between Arphaxad and Sala,[1] concerning whom see Chapter II, § 23, and SPANHEIM’S Dubia Euangelica, part I, doubt XXIII, pages 137-192; and on account of the addition of another hundred years, indeed, one hundred and fifty in the case of Nahor begetting Terah, to the Hebraic years of the παιδοποιΐας/procreation of each (with the exception of Shem, and Terah, the father of Abraham).  So that thus, from this computation, the time of the beginning of the World surpasses the Common Calculation by one thousand, four hundred and eighty years.  Which calculation a great many of the Fathers, in addition to Josephus, follow, being ignorant of the Hebrew founts and accustomed to the Greek Version.  Nevertheless, in this case it is far more likely, that Alexandrian Hellenists extended the years of the Patriarchs, that that the Hebrews contracted them, at which time the fraud was not at all able to lie hidden.  Certainly no solid reason is advanced, on account of which the Hebrews would have contracted the computation of years in their Codices, nor is there any indication of change to the Hebrew Scripture.  On the other hand, a quite lengthy list of errors that crept into the Greek Version has been composed.  Also, a probable reason for the augmentation of the computation of the years of the Patriarchs by the Septuagint is related:  for in this manner, it happened, that exceeding calculation of the Septuagint agrees somewhat more closely with the accounts of the Egyptians and their boasted dynasties.  Now, the Septuagint is the less to be heeded here, the more the Greeks, who desert the Hebrew verity in the calculation of the years that they have reckoned from the Creation of the World to the Birth of Crist, disagree among themselves:  see SPANHEIM the Younger’s Chronologiam Sacram, part II, chapter II, opera, tome I, columns 148-150, likewise chapter 4, column 157.

Thus in the Post-Diluvian Chronology it is doubtful, whether Abraham was borh in the seventieth year of Terah his father, or at length in the one hundred and thirtieth year, if you compare the various texts together; concerning which matter our AUTHOR is to be consulted, Exercitation III, Part III, Exercitationibus Textualibus, which is de Anno Nativitatis Abrahami.  More specifically, with our AUTHOR observing here,


I.  The determination of the Year of Terah’s life, in which he begat Abraham, has ever been thought a most difficult Question; with AUGUSTINE, JEROME, SCALIGER, and SIMON DE MUIS[2] as judges, § 1.

II.  A.  That Abraham was born in Terah’s seventieth Year, asserts JOSEPHUS, Antiquities of the Jews, book I, chapter VI; a great many Jews agree, Seder Olam Rabbah,[3] chapter I.  This was a quite common opinion among the Ancient Christians:  for which a number of erudite Papists dispute; but also SCALIGER with CALVISIUS[4] and others.

א.  The principal argument is the Mosaic text in Genesis 11:26, for the explaining of which unto this opinion are added the Instances of ROBERT BAILLIE,[5] DIONYSIUS PETAVIUS,[6] CALVISIUS.

ב.  Which CALVISIUS adds another twofold argument:

α.  That it appears to Abraham after the likeness of a miracle, that he should beget a son in the hundredth year of his age, Genesis 17:17; therefore, he was not born in the one hundred and thirtieth year of his Father.

β.  If in this place sixty years be inserted into the years of the World, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years would be disturbed, § 2.

II.  B.  But, that Abraham was born in the one hundred and thirtieth year of Terah, judged Menasseh Ben Israel, with Gemara[7] Sanhedrin cited, and Rabbi Hazariah Adumi:[8]  and JAMES USSHER[9] adduces both PHILO the Jew and CHRYSOSTOM, from whose words this opinion is elicited by consequence; and then PROCOPIUS OF GAZA,[10] and THEODORET out of the Catena Græca produced by ALOYSIUS LIPPOMANI,[11] and AUGUSTINE, favoring this opinion.  The number of the More Recent Men of the Papists and Our Men is not easily reckoned, who in favor of this opinion stand with SALIAN,[12] USSHER, and NATALIS ALEXANDER,[13] retracting things previously written, § 3.

א.  These appeal to Genesis 12:4, 5, compared with Genesis 11:32 and Acts 7:4, § 3.  The Argument, which they form from this Passages compared together, is set forth, § 4 at the beginning.

They then respond to diverse Exceptions, which their Adversaries set forth,

α.  On the passage in Acts 7:4, § 4, pages 39-41.

β.  And also on the passage in Genesis 12:4, using as a pretext,

1.  That the seventy-fifth year of the life of Abraham is not to be understood here, who at that time was actually one hundred and thirty-five years old, but the seventy-fifth year of his miraculous rescue from the fire of the Babylonians.

2.  That the seventy-five years of Abraham are not to be connected with the death of his Father, but are to be referred to a time much earlier, with a recapitulation in the Mosaic narrative acknowledged, and also a twofold procession of Abram out of Haran unto Canaan, the former of which is commemorated by Moses, the latter by Stephen, § 5.

ב.  They add Moses’ history of all the happening of Abram, which followed his entrance into Canaan, and which plains show that Abram was not one hundred and thirty-five, but seventy-five years old, when he migrated into Canaan; and so he was born, not in the seventieth year of Terah, but in his one hundred and thirtieth.  See this argument solidly deduced, and not to be contracted into fewer in the cited Dissertation, § 6.

ג.  From the age of Lot and Milcah, the children of Haran, the brother of Abraham; the latter of whom was married her uncle Nahor, the other brother of Abraham, and the former is found as not so unequal to his uncle Abraham.  Therefore, Abraham was far inferior in age to his brother Haran.  Which will be all the more evident, if Sarai, the wife of Abraham, was another child of Haran, called by the name of Iscah;[14] since Abraham was only surpassing Sarai his wife in age by ten years.[15]  At the same time, neither Nahor nor Haran were born before the seventieth Year of their father Terah, § 7.

ד.  BUXTORF adds another two arguments:

α.  If Abraham was born in the seventieth Year of Terah, and the Division of the land according to the Jews happened in the final year of Peleg; so great and so extensive and diffuse a multiplication of men through the earth is hardly plausible in the seventy-fifth year of Abraham.

β.  From the distribution of the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13, and of the four hundred and thirty years of Galatians 3:17, § 8.

II.  C.    א.  CALVISIUS takes Exception:  Out of Acts 7:4 it is not able to be gathered with precision, that Abraham was born in the one hundred and thirtieth Year of Terah, since it is nowhere added, that in the same year in which Terah died Abraham was transported into the land of Canaan.  To which Exception our AUTHOR responds, § 9.

ב.  To the principal Objection taken out of Genesis 11:26, our AUTHOR responds, § 10.

And also to the Instances above, § 2, superadded to this argument, § 11.

ג.  Another twofold argument of CALVISIUS, mentioned in § 2, is refuted, § 12.

Moreover, on this controversy see SPANHEIM’S Chronologiam Sacram, part II, chapter XIX, columns 223, 226-228, § 5, opera, tome I; JOHANNES ENS’[16] Disputationem de Chronologia Sacra, § IX, pages 8, 9; CALOVIUS’ Chronologiæ Biblicæ, section III, question IV, pages 70-76; BUDDEUS’ Historiam ecclesiasticam Veteris Testamenti, period I, section III, § 1, tome I, pages 203, 204.

In the Chronology of Egyptian History, it is doubtful whether the time of the Sojourning of the Israelites in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years, as it appears to be indicated in Exodus 12:40, 41, or from a comparison with Galatians 3:16, 17 this time period of four hundred and thirty years was already to be initiated from the time of Abraham and the promise made to him; so that only half of it, that is, a little more than two hundred years, is left to the Sojourning in Egypt.  Our AUTHOR called this controversy in for serious examination, Exercitationibus Textualibus IV, Part II, in which, with all things rightly weighed and considered, being about to add his own ἐπίκρισιν/judgment, § 9, thus begins:  After diligently inspecting the reasons for both opinions, I confess myself to be almost more doubtful in this argument than formerly; I think, with all things taken into consideration, that there are passages and arguments on the one side and on the other not at all to be despised:  he finishes in a manner not altogether dissimilar:  I conclude, that the duration of the Egyptian sojourn is deservedly numbered among the obscure matters of ancient history, concerning which it is allowed to have differing opinions with Christian faith in the divine Scriptures unharmed, until they might be made clearer by greater industry.  On this Chronological knot compare in turn SPANHEIM’S Chronologiam Sacram, part II, chapter XIX, columns 227-230, in which, among other things, is:  But the foremost difficulty remains, from the passage in Exodus 12:40, that מוֹשַׁב֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל, the habitation or sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.  Where it is to be observed, 1.  That the term מוֹשַׁב denotes παροίκησιν/ peregrination, as the Septuagint Version has it in that most ancient Alexandrian Codex, relatively to the time in which they were גָּרִים/strangers, sojourners, which began in the land of Canaan, which was a land of sojourning, with respect to the Fathers, as Abraham says of himself, Genesis 23:3, 4….  3.  That the sojourning of the children of Israel, אשֶׁ֥ר יָשְׁב֖וּ, who dwelt or continued in Egypt, is one thing; but wherein they dwelt Egypt, with a determination of the time, is another thing; the former is the reading of the Latin Vulgate, in the Bible Polyglots of Antwerp[17] and Paris,[18] etc….  But only mentioning the dwelling of the Israelites in Egypt is from this, that this was the last, and stable, and most famous, and that to be wonder at because of the exaltation of Joseph and the multiplication of the People, which was followed by so illustrious a Deliverance; besides the sojourning of Abarahm himself in Egypt, after his coming into Canaan, concerning which Genesis 12:10:  add JOHANNES ENS’ Disputationem de Chronologia Sacra, § XI, pages 10-12; CALOVIUS’ Chronologiæ Biblicæ, section IV, questions I, II, pages 76-80; BUDDEUS’ Historiam ecclesiasticam Veteris Testamenti, period II, section I, § 14, tome I, pages 455-458.

In Israelite History, concerning the time of the Judges and Kings it is disputed, how the fourth year of the reign of Solomon, 1 Kings 6:1, is able to be called the four hundred and eightieth year from the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt; while out of the book of Judges alone four hundred and fifty years are able to be computed, which appears to agree with Acts 13:20.  ALPHONSUS DES VIGNOLES[19] contends at length, that in 1 Kings 6:1 the number has been corrupted, and that in the place of four hundred and eighty six hundred and forty-eight is to be read; he shows how this sort of error was able easily to creep in, tome I Chronologiæ Sacræ, book I, § 29, pages 172-194; JACOBUS PERIZONIUS,[20] in the place of four hundred and eighty, wants five hundred and eighty to be read here in his responsorial Epistola to FABRICIUS,[21] which, with Fabricius’ ἀμοιβαίαις/answers, in the latter’s Christologia Noachica et Abrahamica, pages 662-677; while our AUTHOR professes himself doubtful on this matter as well, and does not determine anything concerning the integrity or corruption of the text in 1 Kings 6:1 with respect to the number of four hundred and eighty years, Mantissa Observationum after Analysin Exegeticam on the text of Isaiah 53, IV, pages 397-407.  But compare also above, Chapter II, § 23, Part I, where you will see with what reason the integrity of the text of 1 Kings 6:1 is able to be defended, which is upheld also by BUDDEUS, Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris Testamenti, period II, section II, § 11, tome I, pages 731-734, period II, section III, § 21, tome I, page 185; and by SEBASTIAN SCHMIDT,[22] Appendice to his Commentario in libro Judicum.

There is a dispute in the History of the Return of the Israelites from Babylon, who that Darius was, under whom the second Temple was completed, Darius Hystaspes, or Darius Nothus? concerning which see our AUTHOR discoursing in his Commentario in Haggæum et Zachariam, on Haggai 1:1, § 4, pages 10 and following, on Zechariah 1:1, § 3, pages 192-194, verse 12, § 16, pages 251 and following, on Zechariah 4:9, pages 426-428, on Zechariah 7:5, § 4, pages 598-600; ὁμοψήφους/concurring with who you will find SPANHEIM, Chronologia Sacra, part II, chapter XII, opera, tome I, columns 189, 191, and Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris Testamenti, epoch VIII, chapters II, III, columns 413, 414; WITSIUS, Miscellaneorum Sacrorum, tome 1, book I, chapter XX, § 18-31, pages 269-278; VITRINGA the Elder,[23] Prolegomenis in Zachariam, chapter II, pages 12-40; PRIDEAUX,[24] An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, part I, book V, columns 328-336:  all who with the vast crowd of the Erudite stand in favor of Darius Hystaspes, against Drusius,[25] Scaliger, Calvisius, Emmius,[26] and others.

In Christian History, there is a dispute concerning the precise Year of the Nativity of our Lord; while the Greeks make the Era from the Birth of Christ seven or eight whole years later than the Common Dionysian Era:[27]  but it is not strange that the Common Era recedes somewhat from the truth, seeing that it was not invented until the Sixth Century by Dionysius Exiguus, a Roman Abbot, and only thereafter began to be used, as this matter will be narrated at length and examined below, Chapter XIX, § 15.  These and similar Chronological doubts impede the precise Determination of Years that will have flowed from the Creation of the World.

At the same time, that the World only stood for about four thousand years to the Birth of Christ, is evident, α.  from the infallible Calculation of Scripture, also acknowledged by the Jews in the Elian Tradition concerning the sixth thousand Years of the enduring of the World, which they divide into three time periods, so that two thousand years flowed before the Law, which time period they call Void; two thousand years had to blow under the Law unto the Advent of Messiah; and two thousand from the Advent of Messiah to the consummation of the age.  Which distribution, says SPANHEIM in his Chronologia Sacra, part II, chapter XVIII, column 217, is all the more notable, the more ancient, more widely received, and superior to the authority of the Talmudists and Kabbalists, it is among the Jews; but it seeks the throat of the Jewish cause, with the sixth millennium having passed for the most part, as Manasseh Ben-Israel[28] also admits:  compare FABRICIUS’[29] Codicem pseudepigraphum Veteris Testamenti, chapter CCXII, pages 1079-1085; likewise WESSELIUS’ Dissertationibus Sacris Leidensibus VI, § 4, who nevertheless cautions, that this Tradition, according to the opinion of the most learned Jews, did not proceed from the infallible Spirit of the Prophet Elijah, but from the school of some other Elijah, a Doctor and Rabbi, who lived in later times:  and that it undoubtedly had its origin from the Kabbalah, and from the searching out of a mystery; both in the six times repeated letter א, which is the first letter in אלף/thousand, in the first verse of Genesis;[30] and also in the first six fathers, Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jered, all dead, and the seventh, Enoch, translated alive into heaven; and, finally, in the Six Days of Creation, compared with what is said in Psalm 90:4, as if it were declared in it, that the individual days of Creation by the determination of God signify a thousand years of duration for the World.  But, although this Tradition was born of Kabbalistic principles, and owed its name to the school of a certain Elijah other than the Tishbite; nevertheless, that the same was ancient enough, and already in the first ages of Christianity was quite widespread among Christians as well as Jews, is easily shown from those things that FABRICIUS has in the place just now cited, and which will be related by me below, Chapter XXXIV, § 17:  see also MEYER’S Orationem de Origine Universi, pages 81, 82.

β.  It is also probably true, that a briefer space and not many millennia flowed from the Creation unto the Advent of Christ, from the newness of the Sciences and Histories, whence above we also sought an argument for the truth of Creation.  For this makes those things that we recited out of LUCRETIUS, who, among other things, asks:


Why, earlier than the Theban war[31] and the funeral rites of Troy,

Have not other Poets also sung of other affairs.[32]


Similarly MACROBIUS,[33] who lived near the end of the fourth Century, in his Commentariis in Somnium Scipionis, book II, chapter X, says:  Who does not hence judge that the World began at some point, and that not long ago:  since not even the Greek history of the excellent record of events reaches back more than two millennia?  And certainly from the Trojan War, which LUCRETIUS mentions among the most ancient things recorded in the Histories, unto our times not much more than three millennia have passed, since from the destruction of Troy to the founding of Rome, with TURRETIN drawing up a calculation, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus V, question III, § 6, seven hundred and thirty years are reckoned; from the Founding of the City to the Birth of Christ, seven hundred and fifty years; from the Birth of Christ to our times, one thousand, seven hundred and sixty-two years; which all together make three thousand, two hundred and forty-two years.  Indeed, according to SPANHEIM, Chronologia Sacra, part II, chapter VII, column 173:  The Era of the Destruction of Troy is fixed with great agreement in the year 1209 before the Era of Christ, which, joined with the one thousand, seven hundred and sixty-two years after Christ, makes not more than two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-one years.

Those among the Gentiles that suppose far more either invent fables, or are obliged to admit that others of old supposed fewer years.  Thus the Chaldeans or Babylonians, according to DIODORUS SICULUS, Bibliotheca Historia, book II, chapter XXXI, page 83 in the edition of Stephanus,[34] but page 145 in the edition of Wesseling,[35] had observations of three thousand, four hundred and seventy Years to the Asiatic expedition of Alexander the Great; but observations, as SPANHEIM ingeniously conjectures to loosen the knot, Chronologia Sacra, part II, chapter I, column 142, opera, tome 1, certainly not historical, but Astronomical, in advancing their calculation into former things, that is, ἀφ᾽ οὗ ὅτου τὸ παλαιὸν ἤρξαντο τῶν ἄστρων παρατηρήσεις ποιεῖσθαι, from which antiquity they began to reckon observations of the stars.  Thus they most mendaciously attribute to the individual Kings, which Berosus[36] determined to be ten before the Flood, according to the number of the Patriarchs,[37] multiple σάρους/cycles, each of which is three thousand and six hundred years.  Which things even out of the history of Alexander the Great and the dispatches to him, after the occupation of Babylon, by the Historian Callisthenes[38] are refuted in the Astronomical calculations of the Babylonians; since those observations discovered by Callisthenes were not reaching beyond on thousand, nine hundred and three years, unto the capture of Babylone by Macedonia:  which is not found to differ much from the sacred calculation, referring the first origin of the Babylonians to the age of Nimrod, long after the Flood.  How obviously fallacious were the παρατηρήσεις/observations of the Satrs among them, is even evident from this, that, with Diodorus Siculus, in the place just now cited in the Biblithecæ Historicæ, confession, the Chaldeans did not know how to predict or describe solar Eclipses.  The antiquity boasted of by the Chaldeans is ridiculed both by Cicero, and by LACTANTIUS, who believed themselves to be free to lie, says he, because they did not think that they were able to be discovered, book VII divinarum Institutionum, chapter XIV.  But the long age exploded feigned dynasties of Berosus, the Babylonian, priest of Bel, were at length delivered to the world, when the Mosaic Origins were translated into Greek; whence jealously of the Chaldean Priest.

Following Panodorus and Anianus, ecclesiastical Writers of the Fifth Century,[39] mentioned by Syncellus[40] (see SPANHEIM’S Chronologiam, in the passage cited), ALPHONSUS DES VIGNOLES, Chronologia Sacra, tome 2, book VI, chapter III, § 1, 2, pages 625-631, estimates, with LANGIUS,[41] de Annis Christi I:17, whom he commends, that the vast number of years of which the Chaldeans boast are to be explained of only so many Days, which, so that they might deceive the Greeks, and by far surpass them in so great antiquity, they had pawned off as Years, for their purposes misusing the homonymy of the word יוֺם/day, and יָמִים/ days, often posited for a year, as מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה, from days to days, means from year to year, in individual years; this opinion of his, through the simplicity of the exposition of the same, he highly commends:  in § 1 he says, “BEROSUS…as well as ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR,[42] etc., give unanimous assurance, that the Chaldeans had ten kings that reigned before the Flood for the space of one hundred and twenty Saroi, which are four hundred and thirty-two thousand years.  A Saros (σάρος), they say, is the space of three thousand and six hundred years.  This comprehends six Neroi (νήρους), each of which lasts six hundred years:  and a Neros is worth ten Sossoi (σώσσοι), each of which is sixty years.  And so, the duration of the entire one hundred and twenty Sario rises to four hundred and thirty-two thousand years, etc.  After such a magisterial decision (by Scaliger), will I dare to say, that it seems to me, that SCALIGER and his SYNCELLUS, have not attended to the thoughts of ANIANUS and PANODORUS?  That the reproach that these Monks brought upon EUSEBIUS” (namely, that he did not mark that Sossos, Neros, and Saros indicate only a quantity of days, not of years) “appears to me to be well-founded? and that, to speak more boldly, the justice of their censure is obvious, as soon as we suppose, as I do, that the ancient Months were thirty days long, and the years three hundred and sixty days?  These Monks explained this as precisely as possible.  The Saros, say they, comprehends three thousand and six hundred days; the Neros, six hundred; and the Sossos, sixty.  The count is so easy that one hardly needs a pen.  On this footing, a Sossos of sixty days is worth precisely two months.  Just add a Zero to both of these numbers, in order to have ten Sossoi, and you will find on the one side six hundred Days, which make one NEROS, and on the other twenty Months.  Six times these numbers yield for the former three thousand and six hundred Days, which are worth on SAROS; and for the latter one hundred and twenty months, which is exactly ten Years.  Stated differently and more briefly:  to three hundred and sixty days, which according to me are exactly one year, simply add a Zero, and then you will have three thousand and six hundred days, which are worth one SAROS, equal to precisely ten years.  Finally, if you multiply these two numbers by 120 Saroi; you will have for the last number four hundred and thirty-two thousand days, of which we want to make just so many years; whatever they do, it is just one thousand and two hundred years.  This is what those Saroi, those Neroi, and thos Sossoi, amount to, of which the Author of the Pre-Adamites[43] makes one of his Arguments, Systemate ex Præ-adamitarum III:5, page 134.  Since the principle upon which I made these calculations was just such a simple System; in my opinion, this epitome would be sufficient to commit us to admitting it.  But it will be all the more likely, if one makes note, that the Hebrew word יוֺם, which ordinarily signifies Day, often expresses years….  Now, as the Hebrews were Chaldeans in origin, and the Languages of these two Peoples had a lot in common; it appears that the Chaldean Priests, in order to assert their antiquity before the Greeks, abused the equivocation of the word, and allowed what was only days to be taken for years….  § 2.  ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR, following the testimony of SYNCELLUS, still tries to establish a reign of the Chaldeans since the Flood, by saying that eighty-six Kings, Chaldeans or Medes, reigned for thirty-four thousand and eighty years:  that is to say, for nine Saroi, two Neroi, and eight Sossoi.  This number is not completely round, as that of the previous Item was:  but the calculation is quite exact.  Because nine Saroi (thirty-two thousand and four hundred), and two Neroi (one thousand and two hundred), and eight Sossoi (four hundred and eighty), make one sum of thirty-four thousand and eighty days.  What is so remarkable about this is what SYNCELLUS adds immediately after, that some of our Ecclesiastical Historians, says he, have incorrectly reduced this to ninety-four years and eight months.  These Ecclesiastical Historians, whom he does not name here, are certainly PANODORUS and ANIANUS, previously named.  They could have been wrong, in that they include in the space of ninety-four years and eight months the reigns of eighty-six Kings:  which would only amount to thirteen months and six or seven day per King.  Nevertheless, one could defend them, by the example of the Seventh Dynasty of the Egyptians, to which MANETHO[44] only gives seventy days for seventy Kings, according to the report of JULIUS AFRICANUS;[45] or seventy-five days for five Kings, according to the report of EUSEBIUS, etc.”  With respect to the four hundred and eighty thousand years of Astronomical observations, which the Chaldeans are related to have preserved unto Alexander the Great’s storming of Babylon, but which years of the Chaldeans Julius Africanus is related in SYNCELLUS, page 17, to have already called fabulous, concerning these DES VIGNOLES, Chronologia Sacra, tome 2, book VI, chapter III, § 5, pages 637, 638, among other things, has this:  “If we transform this number, common to PLINY and JULIUS AFRICANUS, and if we divide it by three hundred and sixty, according to my method, we will find one thousand, three hundred and thirty-three years and one hundred and twenty days, which is four months, or a third of a year….  Finally, if we take the uttermost bound of these one thousand, three hundred and thirty-three and a third Years, the Year 4392, which followed that of the death of Alexander, under whom BEROSUS flourished; and subtract the one thousand, three hundred and thirty-three years:  we will find the Year 3059 in which the Crown of Assyria passed from the Descendants of Semiramis[46] to the second Family.”

Similarly fabulous are the Dynasties of the Egyptians, rivals to the Chaldeans.  Manetho, certainly an Egyptian Priest, was a rival to Berosus the Babylonian, after whom it is evident that Manetho at length wrote.  MELA,[47] de Situ Orbis, book I, chapter IX, relates the portentous boasting f the Egyptians:  They are the oldest (as they themselves proclaim) of men, and relate in unambiguous annals three hundred and thirty Kings before Amasis,[48] and above thirteen thousand years, etc.  DIODORUS SICULUS, book I Bibliothecæ historicæ, chapter LXIX, page 80 of the edition of Wesseling, teaches, that the Egyptians, as well as their Historians, especially Herodotus,[49] in the place of truth embraced portents of narrations, and devised fables for the sake of pleasure.  Concerning which no one will doubt, when he hears them relating, book I Bibliothecæ historicæ, chapter XLIV, page 53, that Gods and Heroes ruled for about eighteen thousand years; and then Men reigned for almost fifteen thousand years to the one hundred and eightieth Olympiad, which began in the year 60 before the Era of Christ:  That the most ancient of the Gods reigned for one thousand and two hundred years, and the later ones not less than three hundred, and what things are similar, book I Bibliothecæ historicæ, chapter XXVI, page 30.  These fables are altogether tiresome, which Diodorus himself ridiculed and rejected.  That all things of Manetho, Priest of Egypt under Ptolemy Philadelphus,[50] are full of fables and lies, which he long ago imposed, the Learned show.  In particular with respect to the Dynasties of the Egyptians, GERHARD JOHANN and ISAAC VOSSIUS[51] observe, that the years of those, who ruled at the same time, in diverse Dynasties, are number in such a way, as if all in the same Dynasty, some had succeeded others.

Yet others, with DIODORUS SICULUS reporting, book I Bibliothecæ historicæ, chapter XXVI, page 30, think, that the Years in the annals of the Egyptians ought to be understood not as Solar, but as Lunar, that is, as months.  Others devised bimesters, quadrimesters:  see SPANHEIM’S Chronologiam Sacram, part II, chapter I, columns 143-146, who in Chronologia Sacra, part I, chapter II, column 5, enumerates with certainty many among the Ancients, that were of the opinion that the year of the Egyptians was originally Lunar or of months.  Among these, CENSORINUS,[52] who observes in his de die Natali, chapter XIX, that the year of the Egyptians at first was of months, but afterwards departed unto quadrimesters; which DIODORUS SICULUS also relates, Bibliotheca, book I, page 30.  While Censorinus and Macrobius relate, that the Arcadians[53] had trimester years:  concerning monthly years compare LACTANTIUS, book II divinarum Institutionum, chapter XII, page 134.  Indeed, ALPHONSUS DES VIGNOLES, Chronologia Sacra, tome 2, book VI, chapter IV, page 649, thinks that the Egyptians, rattling on about vast antiquity, in the same way that the Chaldeans imposed upon the Greeks admitting this concerning the number of Years, that it was to be understood concerning just so many Days only:  “We say the same thing about the Egyptians, but with a little more emphasis.  Because SUIDAS,[54] on the term ἥλιος/sun/day, gives assurance, that the Egyptians called Days Years (οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐνιαυτοὺς ἐψήφιζον, for they reckoned the days as anniversaries).  Thanks to this equivocation, they also deceived the Greeks:  and we could give examples of this.”  Likewise, when we read in DIODORUS SICULUS, Bibliotheca Historica, book I, chapter XXVI, page 30, Οἱ δ᾽ ἱερεῖς τῶν Αἰγυπτίων τὸν χρόνον ἀπὸ τῆς ἡλίου βασιλείας συλλογιζόμενοι, μέχρι τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου διαβάσεως εἰς τὴν Ἀσίαν, φασὶν ὑπάρχειν ἐτῶν μάλιστά πως δισμυρίων καὶ τρισχιλίων, but the priests of the Egyptians, computing the time from the reign of Helios to the crossing of Alexander into Asia, were saying that it was about twenty-three thousand years:  DES VIGNOLES shows, Chronologia Sacra, in the same place, § 14, page 791, that in the place of twenty-three thousand is simply to be substituted the number of two thousand and three hundred years.

Concerning lunar Years of months, some even think, that, when the Chinese, an altogether vain people, with insane zeal for Antiquity, relate eight hundred and eighty four thousand and eight hundred years from the Creation of the World, as SCALIGER informs, de Emendatione Temporum, book I, page 19.  But far otherwise are found to be the monuments of historical time that are said to survive among the Chinese, which do not ascend above two thousand, six hundred and twenty-seven years before the Common Era of Christ, yet thus long before the Flood of Noah.  While according to ISAAC VOSSIUS, Dissertatione de Æra Mundi, the settled annals of the Chinese, and their first Emperors, began some Centuries later than the Mosaic Flood:  see SPANHEIM’S Chronologiam Sacram, part II, chapter I, columns 146.

Concerning the Chronology of the Chinese also compare THEOPHILUS SIEGFRIED BAYER,[55] Museum Sinicum, tome 2, pages 315-322, or Commentariorum Originum Sinicarum, § XV-XXIII, in which explodes those astonishing annals of the Chinese as fabulous forgeries.  There you may read, among other things:  § XV, “Indeed, in the Chinese Chronology I think some things to be incongruous, yet not actually, but by error, both of the Chinese, and of our men.  The former ignorantly arranged the matters handed down by the elders without an accurate notation of the times many centuries later to the sexagenarian cycle:  but we believe that their annals are very ancient.  To this inconvenience some help is to be brought, lest it insinuate itself among us in the minds of men to the prejudice of heavenly truth.”  § XVI, “So that the matter itself might have the least possible difficulty, it is necessary that the precepts of Chinese Chronology be set forth with perfect accuracy.  We shall do this hereafter.  You will understand, therefore, that there are two cycles that they employ for an account of the years, the one the lesser ven of sixty years, the other the much greater van of a million years….  Yet it is well, that even thus the Chinese confess all things at some point had a beginning:  but it is absurd and ridiculous, that they think they have the exact number of so many myriads, and, when they involve the matters conducted before these four thousand years in fables, record so vast an eternity, as it were.  But the Chinese themselves make little of those vans.  For they are not connected with the sexagenarian cycles, to which alone they attribute anything:  neither do they cohere with the greater cycle of heavenly revolutions.  And so, as these are devised by astronomers, so those vans were produced by idle sycophants.  For, the van is, as it were, a certain Chinese unit, into which as certain inheritances of their genius they divide all things.  But they appear to have received it from the Indians with their other errors, perhaps also with the sexagenarian cycle itself.”  § XVII, “Now, from this sexagenarian cycle, which they follow in their annals and use of life, no prejudice against the Mosaic history is able to arise.  For, our flood does not exceed more than quite three hundred and forty years, which is a tolerable margin for error in such antiquity.”  § XX, “If what the Chinese say is true, that Hoamtius in the twenty-first year of his reign thus ordained the sexagenarian cycle, as it continues to this day; then I would admit that we err and have exceeded somewhat in our calculations.  The matter is now found otherwise.  For, many centuries afterwards a certain man, with the course of the stars considered, founded those cycles, unless the Chinese received the whole from the Indians.  Moreover, while they retain some memory of the ancient kings, that memory, with respect to the incredibly lengthy space of the former time, they were able to regard, and accommodated to these cycles, until they came unto Hoamtius; the shame of the fables drove them away from going beyond him….  Now, since the authors of the cycle stopped at Hoamtius, their posterity put him forth as the author of the cycles.  Yet, that he is not able to be called the author, there are two main arguments.  First, those same Chinese, who do not so much attribute all things to Hoamtius, nevertheless three hundred nd sixty years and more after the institution of the cycle commemorate two astronomers, Ho and Hi, with whom as helpers king Jaus at length ordained twelve lundar months, six of thirty days, and six of twenty-nine days, and then intercalary months….  Therefore, the same that considered Hoamtius to have left all things accurate, nevertheless contend that two astronomers at such a distance first instituted the months.  Do these things cohere poorly?  The other argument is, that finally four hundred and eighty years after Hoamtius, that is, one hundred and thirty years after the flood, they began to enumerate Ussher’s first family of kings, the Hia, so as by that very thing they would judge the former ages guilty of ignorance and darkness, and expunge all the kings before the first family in their tables.”  § XXII, “…But what I would say concerning the very doctrine of the Chinese times, which is hitherto exceedingly obscure, yet in such a way that you are able to suspect, that the ancient Chinese had lunar years without any intercalation.  Now, it is hardly able to be said that the Jesuits found them ignorant in all astronomy….  Why do the Chinese, even when they envy and hate European astronomers, think themselves not to be able to do without them, but before them, to receive the Persians and the Jews unto that astronomical tribunal, which, unless all things deceive me, was a great confession of ignorance.  Therefore, when chronology has contracted some blot from every side, how much disadvantage should we think it to have been accumulated on the most ancient times?”  § XXIII, “Nevertheless, let us concede to the Chinese, that there is no great error in the ancient chronology, and let us insert the beginning of the first family, that is, of true Chinese history, in the year 130 after the Ussherian flood, what is there now that thus hinders us from feeling thus, that at that time certain Noahic families made for the east and reached the borders of the Chinese?  In that fecundity of ancient men, in the midst of such a span of years, how numerous a people was able to proceed from one house?  Whether from the descendants of Shem?  Thus Philippe Couplet[56] thought, that sem signifies life to the Chinese.  Gregory Malatiensis,[57] from the opinion of the Arabs, composed the origins of seven nations, whence the remaining mortals might be derived, the Persians, the Chaldeans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Turks, the Indians, and the Chinese.  But we ourselves are able to conclude nothing in these things by our conjecture or suspicion, neither do we need that labor:  for it is sufficient for us that we have demonstrated, that the ancient authorities of the Chinese do not at all oppose the divine authority of Moses.”

And so, that from the Chronology of the Old Testament collated with the computation of the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Chinese is an argument sought in vain by the Naturalists against the Divinity of Holy Scripture, STAPFER shows, Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 2, chapter X, § 238-251, pages 1037-1048.

Isaac La Peyrere

After all these things, the patrons of the Pre-Adamites are hardly worthy of mention, among whom the the principal is La Peyrère, feigning men created before Adam, perhaps by some myriads of years, and distinguishing the creation of man in Genesis 1 from the forming of Adam in Genesis 2.  But the man was soon ashamed of his ineptitudes and sought pardon instead of praise, with his published error publicly repudiated:  compare below, Chapter XIII, § 7.

If You should Ask, why did not God create the World more swiftly? there is at this point to be a complete acquiescence in the altogether free and ἀνυπευθύνῳ, not accountable to any other, Will of God, to whom it did not appear good for it to be otherwise:  hence CALVIN judges it to be indecent to ask why God did not more quickly create the World; it is not lawful for us to inquire, says he, neither is it expedient, Institutes of the Christian Religion, book I, chapter XIV, § I.  But we are able to observe that God wisely willed it, in such a way that, since men of the last ages were not too distant from the first Creation of the World, the memory of the Creation might be all the more easily preserved, and the divine Liberty in the production of the World might appear all the more evident, and the independent Eternity of things might not ever be dreamed with any appearance of truth.

[1] See Luke 3:35, 36.

[2] Simon de Muis (1587-1644) was one of the most learned Hebraists of his day.  He served in both the academy, as Hebrew Professor of the Royal College of France, and in the Roman Church, as Canon and Archdeacon of Soissons.

[3] Seder Olam Rabbah was a chronicle from Adam to the Bar Kochba rebellion, written around 160 AD.

[4] Sethus Calvisius (1556-1615) was a German Lutheran composer, astronomer, and chronologer.  He wrote Opus chronologicum ex autoritate sacræ scripturæ ad motum luminarium cœlestium contextum.

[5] Robert Baillie (1602-1662) was a Scottish Presbyterian Pastor and Theologian.  During the English Civil War, he was among the Scottish Commissioners sent to the Westminster Assembly.  His writings preserve invaluable information about the history of the times.  He also wrote Operis historici et chronologici libros duos:  in quibus historia sacra & profana compendiosè deducitur ex ipsis fontibus, a creatione mundi ad Constantinum Magnum, & quæstiones ac dubia chronologica, quæ ex Vetero et Novo Testamento moveri solent, breviter & perspicuè explicantur & vindicantur.

[6] Denis Petau (1583-1652) was a French Jesuit churchman and scholar.  His Opus de doctrina temporum carries on the chronological labors of Scaliger.

[7] The Gemara is rabbinical commentary on the Mishnah.  The Gemara and Mishnah together make up the Talmuds:  The Jerusalem Talmud was publish toward the end of the fourth century; the Babylonian Talmud was published around 500.

[8] Rabbi Azariah ben Moses dei Rossi (c. 1513-1578) was an Italian physician and Rabbinical scholar.  Meor Enajim (Light of the Eyes) is a critical treatise on the Aggadah.

[9] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first rank, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland.  He is most remembered for his Annals of the World.

[10] Procopius of Gaza (c. 465-528) was a Christian rhetorician, teacher, and writer.  He produced commentaries on much of the Old Testament in a catenic form (consisting of a series of extracts from the Fathers).

[11] Aloysius Lippomani (1550-1559) was a Roman Catholic bishop (serving successively in Modena, Verona, and Bergamo), distinguished for his historical and linguistic learning.  He was commissioned by Pope Paul IV as nuncio to Poland to resist the advance of the Reformation.  He wrote commentaries on Genesis (Catenam in Genesim), Exodus, and the Psalms.

[12] Jacques Salian (1557-1640) was a French Jesuit.  He wrote Annales Ecclesiasticos Veteris Testamenti, quibus Connexi Sunt Annales Imperii Assyriorum, Babyloniorum, Persarum, Græcorum, atque Romanorum.

[13] Noël Alexandre (1639-1724) was a French Dominican.  He taught philosophy, theology, and canon law at the Sorbonne.

[14] See Genesis 11:29.

[15] See Genesis 17:1, 17.

[16] Johannes Ens (1682-1732) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Utrecht from 1720 to 1732.

[17] Christophe Plantin (c. 1520-1589) was a French humanist and printer, working in Antwerp, Belgium.  The Plantin Polyglot (also known as the Biblia Regia, having been financed by Philip II of Spain; printed between from 1568 to 1573) included five languages, Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, Syriac, and Latin, and was produced under the editorial supervision of Benedict Arias Montanus.

[18] Biblia Hebraica, Samaritana, Chaldaica, Syriaca, Græca, Latina, et Arabica, was edited by Gui-Michel Lejay (1588-1674), a French scholar, expert in Oriental languages, and sponsored by Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle.

[19] Alphonse des Vignoles (1649-1744) was a French Reformed pastor and scientist.

[20] Jacobus Perizonius (1651-1715) was a Dutch scholar, excelling in the fields of theology, rhetoric, and history.

[21] Franciscus Fabricius (1663-1738) was a Dutch Reformed theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Leiden (1705-1738).

[22] Sebastian Schmidt (1617-1696) was a German Lutheran Theologian and Hebraist.  He studied under Buxtorf the Younger, and his efforts to interpret Scripture with philological accuracy influenced Philipp Jakob Spener.  He commented on much of the Scripture.

[23] Campegius Vitringa Sr. (1659-1722) was a Dutch Reformed theologian and Hebraist.  He was a critical Cocceian, and heavily influenced by his pastor, Herman Witsius.  He served the university at Franeker, first as professor of Oriental languages (1681), then of Theology (1682) and Church History (1697).  He is remembered for his work in Jewish antiquities, and for his commentaries on Isaiah and Revelation.

[24] Humphrey Prideaux (1648-1724) was an Anglican churchman and orientalist.

[25] Joannes Drusius (1550-1616) was a Protestant scholar; he excelled in Oriental studies, Biblical exegesis, and critical interpretation.  He served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Oxford (1572), at Louvain (1577), and at Franeker (1585).

[26] Ubbo Emmius (1547-1626) was a German Reformed theologian.  Emmius played a leading role in the formation of the University of Groningen, and he served as Professor of History, Geography, and Theology (1614-1625).

[27] Dionysius Exiguus (c. 470-c. 544) was an Eastern monk from Scythia Minor.  He is famous for his invention of the Anno Domini dating, used in both the Gregorgian and Julian Calendars.  In addition, he translated a large number of Ecclesiastical Canon from Greek into Latin.

[28] Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel (1604-1657) was a Portuguese Jewish scholar.  His El Conciliador was an attempt to reconcile difficult and seemingly contrary portions of the Old Testament.  He established the first Hebrew printing press in Amsterdam.

[29] That is, Johann Albert Fabricius.

[30] Genesis 1:1:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃).”

[31] According to Hesiod, Works and Days, verses 156-165, this Theban War, sometimes called The Seven against Thebes, took place in the generation immediately preceding the Trojan War.

[32] De Rerum Natura, book 5, verses 326, 327.

[33] Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius’ (395-423) wrote Saturnalia, a dialogue in which all sorts of historical, mythological, and linguistic curiosities are discussed.

[34] Henri Estienne, or Henricus Stephanus (c. 1530-1598), was the eldest son of Robert Estienne, who had printed several famous editions of the Greek New Testament.  Henri continued in the family printing business, editing, collating, and preparing many classical works for the press.  His most famous work is his Thesaurus Linguæ Graecæ, which was a standard work in Greek lexicography until the nineteenth century.  Stephanus’ edition of Diodorus Siculus’ Bibliothecæ Historicæ was published in 1559.

[35] Petrus Wesseling (1692-1764) was a German philologist and jurist.  His edition of Diodorus Siculus’ Bibliothecæ Historicæ was published in 1745.

[36] Berosus (early third century BC) was a priest of Belus in Babylon, who wrote a history of Chaldeans, which survives only in the fragmentary citations of other authors.

[37] See Genesis 5.

[38] Callisthenes of Olynthus (c. 360-328 BC) was a pupil of Aristotle.  He was employed by Alexander the Great to chronicle his campaign in Asia.

[39] Panodorus and Anianus were both Alexandrian monks.

[40] George Syncellus (died c. 810) was a monk, syncellus or secretary to the Patriarch of Constantinople, and a chronographer, chronicling the time from the creation to Diocletian.

[41] Wilhelmus Langius (1624-1682) was a Danish mathematician, astronomer, and jurist.

[42] Alexander Polyhistor was a first century Greek historian and geographer, who wrote forty-two volumes on the countries of the ancient world, including Israel.  His work survives only in fragments.

[43] Isaac La Peyrère (1596-1676) was born into a Huguenot family, but later converted to Romanism.  He is most remembered for his Millenarian view and the Pre-Adamite hypothesis.

[44] Manetho (third century BC) was an Egyptian historian.  His Ægyptiaca has been of enduring value in the study of Pharaonic dynasties.

[45] Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 160-c. 240) was a chronographer, and the first Christian to attempt a history from the creation.

[46] The legendary Semiramis was a semi-divine queen of Assyria.  Many of the great works around the Euphrates were ascribed to her.

[47] Pomponius Mela was perhaps the first Roman geographer, producing De Situ Orbis around 43 AD.

[48] Ahmose I was Pharaoh in the mid-sixteenth century BC.

[49] Herodotus (c. 484-c. 425) was a Greek historian, sometimes called “The Father of History”.

[50] Ptolemy II Philadelphus was Pharaoh from 284 to 246 BC.

[51] Isaac Vossius (1618-1689), son of Gerhard Johann Vossius, was a Dutch scholar and manuscript collector.

[52] Censorinus (third century AD) was a Roman grammarian and writer.  His De Die Natali appears to have been written on the occasion of his patron’s birthday (238 AD).  It is full of curiosities, pertaining to history, astronomy, religion, philosophy, and chronology.

[53] Arcadia was a region in the middle of the Greek Peloponnese.

[54] Suidas was the compiler of the Suda, an encyclopedia containing more than thirty thousand entries concerning the ancient Mediterranean world.  It was probably composed in tenth-century Byzantium.

[55] Theophilus Siegfried Bayer (1694-1738) was a German classical scholar and Sinologist.

[56] Philippe Couplet (1623-1693) was a Flemish Jesuit missionary to the Qing Empire of China.  He wrote Tabulam chronologicam monarchiæ sinicæ, and Confucium Sinarum Philosophum.

[57] Gregory Bar Hebræus (1226-1286), born near Malatya in the Sultanate of Rum, was a regional primate of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  His corpus includes works in theology, philosophy, philology, poetry, and history.  Bar Hebræus composed a massive ecclesiastical history (Makhtbhanuth Zabhne), reaching from the Creation to his own day.

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Matthew Poole on Genesis 5:32: [2448 BC]  Verse 32:[1]  And Noah was five hundred years old:  and Noah begat (Gen. 6:10) Shem, Ham, and (Gen. 10:21) Japheth.

[He was a son of five hundred years]  Question:  Why was he so late in generating?  Response:  God so appointed it, because He had decided to save him, with his posterity:  but if in the hundredth year he had begun to beget (like others), there would have been so many children of him, that they would not have been able to be kept suitably with necessities in the ark; and many of those would have been wicked,whom it would not have been fitting that they be saved (Lyra).  Or, he begat other sons…


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