B.C. and A.D.

Until recently, most history books written in English used the terms B.C. and A.D. to place events in time.

A.D. stands for the Latin phrase Anno Domini, “the year of the Lord.”
B.C.
stands for the English phrase “Before Christ.”

The term A.D. was thought up by a Christian monk. He calculated Year One of the Christian calendar from the year in which Jesus was born. This method of dating was a huge improvement over the multitude of methods that historians were using. Nowadays, however, the notations A.D. and B.C. are being replaced by C.E. and B.C.E.

C.E. stands for “Common Era.” Year One of the Common Era is the Year One previously thought to have been the birth year of Jesus. Modern scholarship now dates the birth of Jesus to 4 B.C.E., the last year of the reign of Herod the Great.

B.C.E. stands for “Before Common Era.”

For more on historical dating, see Writing About History

1 comment to B.C. and A.D.

  • I will stick with B.C. and A.D. I see nothing good coming of changing to another way. Does anyone see a reason to change that escapes me? Change for change sake is not worth the effort or the confusion and discomfort.

    I, like other Christians, like having our modern dating system based on the date of Christ’s birth. That the date of His birth is believed to have been a bit later is of no consequence.

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