Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bishop Ussher Goofed

Alice C. Linsley

Young Earth Creationists use Archbishop James Ussher’s chronology to date the age of the earth. They believe that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 are chronological, enabling them to arrive at an approximate date of creation of the whole universe. They calculate the earth's age at 6000 years on the basis of ages assigned to these rulers. Ussher failed to recognize that the so-called "genealogies" are King Lists. These are not the first humans on earth, but rulers of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion.

The Genesis 4 and 5 lists represent a time of kingdoms, laws, warriors, weapons, settlements, shrine cities and numerous technologies associated with the Neolithic Period. This places these earliest rulers of Genesis between 10,200 and 3000 B.C., millions of years after the appearance of archaic humans.

Ussher's scheme is not accurate because these lists are not generational, but regnal, and the reigns of some kings coincided. Tubal-Cain (Gen. 4) and Methuselah (Gen. 5) ruled at the same time. Tubal-Cain's sister married Methuselah. (See diagram below.)

Each of Ussher's errors reflects ignorance of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's ancestors as that is revealed in Genesis 4, 5 and 11. This same pattern characterizes Moses' family and Samuel's family. It is the distinctive pattern of the ancient Habiru (Hebrew), a caste of ruler-priests.

Let us examine the problems with Ussher's scheme error by error.

Error #1: Ussher did not recognize that the Genesis genealogies are regnal not generational. They cannot be used to count generations because they are king lists and some kings ruled simultaneously, others ruled for short periods, and still others ruled for longer than a generation (40 years).

Error #2  Ussher did not recognize that some of the genealogical lists are telescopic. Telescopic lists leave out some names. Such lists give the names of only the most famous rulers. This means that we cannot use the genealogies to date the earth.

Error #3: Ussher did not understand that the rulers listed had two wives so there were two first-born sons. Ussher did not take this complication into consideration, which is another reason his chronology can't be used to determine the age of the earth.

Error #4: There are various the king lists, depending on the group of people. The Horite rulers are listed in Genesis 36. Some lists provide the names of the first born sons of the half-sister brides. Other lines are traced through the cousin bride who named her first born son after her father. This is the case with Methuselah's wife who named their first born son "Lamech" after her father.

The lines of Cain and Seth intermarried. Each ruler-priest had 2 wives. One was a cousin bride and the cousin bride named her first born son after her father. Thus the similarity of names occurring in both lines. Kenan is a variant of Kain, and Irad is a variant of Jared.

In the case of Lamech's daughter, Naamah, the pattern is quite clear. She married her cousin Methuselah and named her first-born son Lamech after her father. This pattern of marriage can be traced from Genesis 4 and 5 to the lines of Joseph and Mary in the New Testament, demonstrating that  Jesus is a direct descendant of the people to whom God made the first promise of the Bible that a woman of their ruler-priest lines would bring forth the "Seed" of God (Gen. 3:15).

Jesus' mother's name was Miriam daughter of Joachim Son of Pntjr (Panther) Priests of Nathan of Beth Lehem. From predynastic times, ntjr designated the ruler among the Kushites. The name Panther or p-ntjr meant "God is King." It is certain that Mary was of the ruler-priest caste because even those who hated her admit this. Sanhedrin 106a says: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.”

There is Biblical support for this view of Enosh/Nok as familial "head" in Psalm 8:4 which reads, “What is man [enosh] that you are mindful of him, the son of man [ben adam] that you care for him?” The parallelism of the Hebrew makes it clear that the historical Enosh is regarded as progenitor just as the archetypal Adam is regarded as progenitor. Enoch and Enosh are linguistically equivalent. This indicates that the first born sons of Cain and Seth were named after the same ruler.

Cain and his brother Seth married the daughters of Enoch/Nok, a great Proto-Saharan chief. These brides named their first born sons after their father. This suggests that they were cousin wives rather than half-sister wives. Cain’s son was Enoch and Seth’s son was Enosh. Another variant is “Hanoch,” the name of Jacob's firstborn son's firstborn son.

Using kinship analysis it is possible to determine the name that should appear at the head of the Genesis 4 and 5 family tree. That name is not Adam, but is Enoch or Nok. Both names mean "one who is to rule." Enoch is a royal title. Likewise, Lamech is a variant of la-melech which appears on several thousand Egyptian seals. It means "of the King" or "for the King."

Error #5: Usher insisted on reading Genesis as chronological records, rather than as stories involving people who often lived at the same time.  For example, Abraham was a contemporary of Job. Judah likely had two wives, one in Horite Territory and the other n Egypt. Genesis 46, Judah went into Egypt with his brothers and presumably settled in the land of Goshen with his children. Yet in Genesis 38, we read that Judah had sons by a woman and lived in the region of Adulla, Mareshah and Chezib in the territory of the Horites. Judah, like his father. had two wives. Shua was his wife in the region Chezib and he had another wife in Egypt.

Error #6:  Ussher didn't know about the cousin bride's naming prerogative which meant that the bride's father and her first-born son had the same name. The biblical record often speaks of two different people who had the same name. This is true of Lamech the Elder and Lamech the Younger, of Joktan the Elder and Joktan the Younger, and of Sheba the Elder and Sheba the Younger.

Here we see that there are two named Esau. Esau the Elder married Adah.  Esau the Younger married Oholibamah.

Seir is identified as a Horite in Genesis 36. The names Esau, Uz, Lotan and Timna are likewise Horite names. The name "Adah" can be traced back to Lamech the Elder. One of his wives was named Adah (Gen. 4:23).

Ussher lived before the development of molecular genealogy which has shed much light on human origins, and especially on the dispersion of the ancient Nilotes and Kushites. He also lived before the development of kinship analysis which makes verification of the Genesis King Lists possible. It can no longer be claimed that these rulers did not live in history. Their marriage and ascendancy pattern is authentic and can be traced from Genesis 4 to the New Testament records of Mary and Joseph's families. It is not possible that this aspect of Biblical history could have been written back into the texts since the 66 books of the Bible represent the contributions of numerous scribes and authors over about 1200 years.

Related reading:  DNA Resaerch Confirms Kushite MigrationsA Scientific Timeline of GenesisCalculating the dates of the Patriarchs; The Genesis King Lists; Horite Territory; Two Named Esau; Abraham and Job, Horite Rulers; The Cousin Bride's Naming Prerogative


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work Alice. It is appreciated.

David DuBois said...

I am researching antediluvian chronology, and found this very helpful in explaining the connection between the lines of Cain and Seth.
However, you seem to agree with the standard Chronology from the Masoretic text, giving a creation date of about 4004BC rather than the Septuagint, which would give about 5500BC.
I had favored the Masoretic text myself (reflected in my Bible), which I think Ussher used also, but do you think a date of 2300BC for a universal flood is supportable from Mesopotamian archaeological evidence?
As an alternative, I looked at Byzantine chronology using the Septuagint, which gives an earlier flood date and an age of the world (AM=Anno Mundi)date equivalent to about 5500BC. Can that possibility be ruled out, and if so, how?

Alice C. Linsley said...

One can't determine the age of the earth from Genesis, except to say that it is very old, and began in a chaotic state that was set in order by the generative Word of God. Archaic human bones date to about 3.8 million years, so the earth must be older than 3.8 million years. Noah's flood, is a relatively recent event, dating to the Holocene Wet Period. Noah was a Nilo-Saharan ruler who lived in the region of Lake Chad.

Unknown said..., Alice Linsley, you obviously subscribe to the all the faulty presuppositions about carbon dating wholeheartedly, right? How can you do that & honestly argue here? One can't determine the age of anything by using radiometric dating, let alone bones.

Unknown said...

...another thing Alice Linsley, about your skepticism of the literality of the universal flood - a grand majority of peoples all over the world in not only traditions of historical beliefs but tribal histories are rife the world over with flood stories... this must burn you up... (sorry, no eternal state pun intended)...i will play nice.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Mark, You must be aware that there are effective means of dating besides radio carbon.

Flood stories are quite common among peoples who live along major water systems worldwide, and for archaic people who lived along extinct water systems such as existed in the Sahara. They often pose the floods of the past as universal, which can appear to be the case from their local perspective.