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Controversy over the use of the
"CE/BCE" and "AD/BC" dating notation
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 2015 CE = 2015 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 a few days before the end of 1 BCE. However, most theologians and religious historians
estimate that Jesus was born in the fall of some year between 7 and 4
BCE. We have seen estimates as late as 4 CE and as early as the second
century BCE. The fall date is reasonably firm, because the birth of John the Baptizer (a.k.a. John the Baptist) is known accurately from the transitions among the chief priests in the Jeruaslam Temple as mentioned in the Bible. The birth of Jesus is known approximately relative to his cousin John's birth.
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:
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
- 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 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2015-DEC-13
Author: B.A. Robinson