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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the status of biblical chronology in seventeenth-century England, concentrating on the period after James Ussher (d. 1656). It discusses the links between chronology and biblical history-writing, and how these disciplines both supported and destabilized the text. Looking at scholars including Robert Cary and Isaac Vossius, alongside the complex legacy of Joseph Scaliger, Mandelbrote explores how their phenomenal feats of biblical scholarship provided a paratextual context for reading the early modern Bible, which, as the century progressed, merged with a set of speculations on the natural history of the earth as a conduit to sacred knowledge. Even while the subject garnered suspicion and at times ridicule, chronologies remained at the scholarly apex of biblical studies well into the eighteenth century.

Keywords: biblical chronology, sacred history, Robert Cary, Isaac Vossious, Joseph Scaliger, natural philosophy

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