In The City of God, Augustine raises a curious question: How did Methuselah survive the flood? According to the Septuagint, the patriarch was 355 years old when Noah was born, and the deluge occurred 600 years later. Thus Methuselah was 955 at the flood–yet he lived to be 969. He was not aboard the ark, and the deluge destroyed the rest of humanity. How did Methuselah survive?

“This is a celebrated question,” wrote Jerome, “and one which has been publicly aired in argument by all the churches.” It’s largely obviated today: Most modern editions of Genesis are translated from the Masoretic text, which has Methuselah dying in the year of the flood.