The Corner

Bce/Ce Vs Bc/Ad Non-Controversy

The reader who originally grumbled about this is in a small minority. To

judge from my e-mail (though a small sample so far, 12-15), nobody much seems

to mind either way. Christians: “Oh, when I see ‘BCE’ and ‘CE’ I just say

the ‘C’ as ‘Christian.’” Non-Christians: “Appreciate the courtesy of ‘BCE’

and ‘CE’ but am not much bothered by the other, since the bloke who set it up

got the date of Christ’s birth wrong by 4 years, anyway.” The bloke, by the

way, was a monk named Dionysius Exiguus (tr. “Dennis the Short”) back in, I

think, the 6th century. The late Stephen Jay Gould wrote a funny &

informative article about this in one of his Smithsonian columns.


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