Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

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 Encyclopedia

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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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.

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

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service
  • Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus
  • St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:41-43
41 'Even the foreigner, not belonging to your people Israel but coming ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:1-10
1 When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he ... Read More

Reading 2, Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10
1 From Paul, an apostle appointed not by human beings nor through any ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2016 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle ... Read More