As a historian I use CE (Common Era) for the epoch since the year 1, and BCE (Before the Common Era) for years counting backward from the year 1.
Answers that complain of the “inaccuracy” of this year numbering scheme are missing the point. Having said all that — the point of these schemes is to communicate information.
And you may or may not know that these two fellows, along with Plato's teacher, Socrates, are considered the fathers of Western philosophy. This is actually just a small little video about different dates, or maybe a better way to think about it, different ways to specify dates or dating mechanisms.
And so, if you were to look up Plato's birth, you might get either 428 or 427, but we'll go with 428.
The terms ‘AD’ and ‘BC’ were coined around 1,500 years ago by Dionysius Exiguus, then popularised two centuries later by the Venerable Bede.
Designed to identify the date of Easter, they stand for ‘before Christ’ and ‘anno Domini’ (Latin for ‘in the year of the Lord’).
If you were to look up Plato's birth, you might see it written as 428 BC, or you might see it written as 428 BCE. And the answer is that these are referring to the exact same year in history, but the acronyms here do stand for different things. So if the date is written 428 BC, the implication is that this is 428 years before the birth of Christ.
Common Era notation has been adopted in several non-Christian cultures, by many scholars in religious studies and other academic fields, and by others wishing to be sensitive to non-Christians, because Common Era does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus, such as Christ and Lord, which are used in the BC/AD notation. Muslims date their calendar from the year of the pilgrimage () of the Prophet Muhammad. There was nothing uncommon about the age of David and Solomon.
stand for “Before the Common Era” and the “Common Era.” Bob Cargill wrote an article for Bible and Interpretation in which he argued that Christians should adopt the BCE/CE dating system. As Mark Goodacre wrote in his blog: Within Biblical Studies, the usage is now so widespread that some authors will have had it imposed on them by publishers who make this an element in their house style. He wrote: It seems to mean the terminological shift is nothing but a rather facile attempt to take a dating system which clearly places the Incarnation at the center of human history and secularize it. In his article, Bob asked the question: “Why should Christians adopt the BCE/CE dating system? The reason the call to change is given only to Christians is because of the fact that Christ, for better or for worse, has become the central figure in human history. Even when scholars use BCE and CE to date historical events, one has to ask: what caused the transition from Before the Common Era to the Common Era?
One of the reasons for my opposition to this change is became the BCE/CE system is mostly an academic construct, just like the words “Hexateuch” and “Deuteronomic History,” a construct that is hardly used by the average Christian. Brant Pitre, in his blog The Sacred Page has a good statement about the effort to secularize the calendar. No one will ask Jews and Muslims to change their dating system because it may be offensive to some Christians. If one group should change, then all should change. It is the Incarnation of Christ that marks the transition from one era to the other.
Yes, it is based on an inaccurate calculation of the birth year of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the first numbering scheme to be adopted throughout the world. So if I am addressing an audience that I think might object to CE, I'm happy to use AD and BC.
When publishing, I’ll use whatever the “house style” requires.