The Age of the Earth: Two Ancient Charts as Set Forth in the Matthew Bible

When John Rogers compiled the 1537 Matthew Bible, he included a wide variety of biblical information, guides, and study helps. One interesting feature in the front pages was two charts that compared two different calculations of the age of the earth. People who have the Hendrickson facsimile of the 1537 Matthew Bible will find the charts on the bottom of the last page just before the book of Genesis.

The first chart contained the calculations of the Hebrews, following the Hebrew Bible. The second chart set out the calculations of Eusebius and other “Chroniclers,” who were not identified and who, I am told, based their calculations on the Septuagint. I have adapted the charts for a table format and present them below. The English is gently updated. I also updated both charts to show the number of years passed since the coming of Christ as 2,020 years instead of 1,537 years.

The Hebrews arrived at an age of the earth which, to this present year, would make the world 5,972 years old. According to Eusebius’s calculations, however, the earth is now 7,190 years old.

Because the figures in the Matthew Bible were in Roman numerals and were often blurred due to the imperfect inking process, they were difficult to make out. There might be errors. However, I carefully compared my 1549 Matthew Bible with my 1537 facsimile and I believe the tables are correct.

Neither of these charts tallies exactly with Bishop James Ussher’s chart, which, according to a Wikipedia article I read, dates the earth as presently 6,060 years old. There are also other modern calculations, which disagree minimally.

From the Matthew Bible:

A brief review of the years passed since the beginning of the world
to this year of our Lord 2020,
both according to the reckoning of the Hebrews
and according to the reckoning of Eusebius and other Chroniclers.

© R. Magnusson Davis, September 2020