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The selections and comments here are not a complete exposition of the works of the authors mentioned; rather they were chosen to illustrate and exemplify changing perspectives over time.In Europe the issue of the age of the Earth was not a serious one prior to the rise of science; the history of the Earth was assumed to be accounted for in Genesis.See instructions at Wiktionary: Entry layout#Translations. The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers.
If, in the year AD 1600, you had asked an educated European how old the planet Earth was and to recount its history he would have said that it was about 6000 years old and that its ancient history was given by the biblical account in Genesis.
If you asked the same question of an educated European in AD 1900 you would have received a quite different answer.
He would have answered that the Earth was ancient, that there had not been a Noachian flood, and that the species of life had not been fixed over the history of Earth.
In short, Genesis was an allegory and not literal history.
It was not ruled out, per se, but it was not necessary. In the new science, however, rational explanation was desirable. In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC.
In 1637 Descartes produced a cosmogony that was highly influential for more than a century. It was not in their estimates of the age of the Earth - Descartes retained the biblical date.
Notable observations included: ran from about 1780-1850.
By the end of the 18'th century it was clear that the Earth had a long and varied history. The major debate was between the catastrophists, e.g., Cuvier, who held that the history of Earth was dominated by major catastrophic revolutions and the uniformitarians, e.g.
In the 1700's belief in a 6000 year old Earth crumbled.
Attempts to calculate the age of the Earth from physical considerations yielded estimates that ranged from 75,000 years (Buffon, 1774) to several billion years (de Maillet, Buffon).
The rise of science produced a major change in attitude.