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Ussher, James

James Ussher (both: ŭsh´ər), 1581–1656, Irish prelate and scholar. While a fellow (1599–1605) of Trinity College, Dublin, he was ordained (1601). By 1605 he was chancellor of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. In 1615 a convocation of clergy called upon him to draft the articles of doctrine and discipline of the Irish Protestant church. These showed a Calvinistic tendency. In 1620 or 1621 he became bishop of Meath and later (1625) archbishop of Armagh. He often went to England, where he enjoyed association with noted scholars and statesmen. He was there when the Irish rebellion of 1641 broke out, and he never returned to Ireland. Although he refused to sit (1643) in the Westminster Assembly and upheld the doctrine of the divine right of kings, he was in 1647 elected preacher of Lincoln's Inn; by Cromwell's order he was given a state funeral in Westminster Abbey. His learning, attested by his numerous works in Latin and English, awakened great admiration. In his chronological study, the Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (2 vol., 1650–54), Ussher worked out a system of dates (setting the creation at 4004 BC) afterward long used in some editions of the King James Version of the Bible. His works were edited by C. R. Elrington and J. H. Todd (17 vol., 1847–64).

See W. B. Wright, The Ussher Memoirs (1889) and the biography by R. B. Knox (1967).

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Ussher, James

Ussher, James (1581–1656). Archbishop of Armagh. Born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ussher was successively professor of divinity, vice-chancellor (1615), bishop of Meath (1621), and archbishop (1625). He drafted the 104 Articles approved by the Dublin convocation (1615). On returning from absence in England (1623–6), he signed the Irish bishops' protest against toleration of popery (1626). Despite his predestinarian theology, he was friendly with Laud. During his tenure the disputed primacy of Ireland was settled in Armagh's favour and the Bible in Irish language was permitted, but Scottish settlers resented the imposition of unmodified Anglican articles. After leaving Ireland (1640), he held the see of Carlisle in commendam. Though suggesting modified episcopacy with synods (1641) acceptable to presbyterians like Baxter, he remained an episcopalian royalist. Ussher was a distinguished scholar, contributing to early Irish history and biblical chronology: his argument that the world was created in 4004 bc held the field for decades.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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Ussher, James

Ussher, James (1581–1656). Anglican archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. A scholar of vast learning, he was an authority on such diverse subjects as the letters of Ignatius (of which he distinguished the seven genuine ones) and the early history of Ireland. He is probably best remembered today in connection with his scheme based on the genealogies, according to which, e.g. the world was created in 4004 BCE.

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Usher, James

James Usher: see Ussher, James.

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