One of the Hebrew patriarchs, mentioned in Genesis 5. The word is variously given as Mathusale ( 1 Chronicles 1:3 ; Luke 3:37 ) and Mathusala . Etymologists differ with regard to the signification of the name. Holzinger gives "man of the javelin" as the more likely meaning; Hommel and many with him think that it means "man of Selah", Selah being derived from a Babylonian word, given as a title to the god, Sin ; While Professor Sayee attributes the name to a Babylonian word which is not understood. The author of Genesis traces the patriarch's descent through his father Henoch to Seth, a son of Adam and Eve. At the time of his son's birth Henoch was sixty-five years of age. When Methuselah had reached the great age of one hundred and eighty-seven years he became the father of Lamech. Following this he lived the remarkable term of seven hundred and eighty-two years, which makes his age at his death nine hundred and sixty-nine years. It follows thus that his death occurred in the year of the Deluge. There is no record of any other human being having lived as long as this for which reason the name, Methuselah, has become a Synonym for longevity.
The tendency of rationalists and advanced critics of different creeds leads them to deny outright the extraordinary details of the ages of patriarchs. Catholic commentators, however, find no difficulty in accepting the words of the Genesis. Certain exegetes solve the difficulty to their own satisfaction by declaring that the year meant by the sacred writer is not the equivalent of our year. In the Samaritan text Methuselah was sixty-seven at Lamech's birth, and 720 at his death.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online