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Controversy over the use of the
"CE/BCE" and "AD/BC" dating notation

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Overview:

CE usually stands for "Common Era." AD is an abbreviation for "Anno Domini" in Latin or "the year of the Lord" in English. Both measure the number of years since the approximate birthday of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) a little over two millennia ago. CE and AD have the same value. That is 1 CE = 1 AD, and 2011 CE = 2011 AD. The word "common" simply means that it is based on the most frequently used calendar system: the Gregorian Calendar.

BCE stands for "Before the common era." BC means "Before Christ," or "Before the Messiah." Both measure the number of years before the approximate birthday of Yeshua/Jesus. Designation of a year in BC and BCE also have identical values.

Many people assume that Yeshua/Jesus was born at the end of 1 BCE. However, most theologians and religious historians estimate from evidence within the Bible that he was born in the fall of a year, sometime between 7 and 4 BCE. We have seen estimates as late as 4 CE and as early as the second century BCE.

Of course, one has the option of interpreting the letter "C" in CE and BCE as referring to "Christian" or "Christ's," in place of "common." "CE" then becomes "Christian Era." "BCE" becomes "Before the Christian Era." The Abbreviations Dictionary does exactly this. 1 The "C" has also been interpreted as "Current."

Topics covered in this section:

bulletIntroduction: Groups in favor and opposed to CE/BCE. Visitors' comments. Our decision
 
bulletReligious calendars. Meaning of 1 BCE & 1 AD. History of the AD/BC & CE/BCE notation
 
bulletJustification for the use of CE/BCE. Trends

References:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. R.S. Wachal, "Abbreviations Dictionary: A Practical Compilation of Today's Acronyms and Abbreviations," Houghton Mifflin, (1999). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

Copyright © 1999 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-AUG-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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