I have been asked by a colleague at work what event marks the beginning of the Jewish calendar? I have always understood that we date our years from the Creation. Am I correct? Can you quote any sources I can use to back up my theory?
Dear Sharon Cohen,
You're right. We are now in the year 5759 from the creation of Adam. We have an unbroken tradition that this is so; we've been writing this in our marriage documents for thousands of years.
For textual sources, look at the chronologies from Adam down through Avraham (Genesis, Chapters 5,11). This shows that Avraham was born in the year 1948 (!) from Creation. The Exodus from Egypt was 500 years later (Genesis 21:5, 15:13), bringing us to the year 2448. Add 480 years from the Exodus until the First Temple (Kings I, 6:1) and you have 2928. Add 410 years that the First Temple stood, 70 years of Babylonian exile, 420 years that the Second Temple stood, and 1931 years since its destruction. This gives you exactly 5759.