Dr. Platypus

Home » Posts tagged '4 Ezra'

Tag Archives: 4 Ezra

4 Ezra and the Size of the Earth

Jim Davila explains how Christopher Columbus deduced the size of the earth from a literalistic reading of 4 Ezra 6:42-52. According to this text, the ocean (i.e., the Atlantic) only took up one-seventh of the globe, so the earth wasn’t nearly as big around as Eratosthenes calculated in the 3rd century BC.

The key point is the repeated assertion that the waters, that is the oceans, make up only one-seventh of the earth. Therefore, one might infer that the Atlantic ocean could not have been all that big and that it would not be a difficult project to sail across it to the Indies. Columbus, in fact, made this very argument to Ferdinand and Isabella using this text, and apparently they were convinced, since they gave him their support.

The moral? Everyone should read the Old Testament pseudepigrapha, but don’t use them to make your travel plans.