Difference between revisions of "CE"

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(relate to Christian Era)
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'''CE''' is an abbreviation for either ''Christian Era'' or ''Common Era''. The Christian Era began in AD 1, the customary date for the birth of Jesus Christ. The terms ''CE'' and ''AD'' are synonomous, except that ''AD'' is usually written before the year, and ''CE'' is always written afterwards.
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The term "Common Era" (CE) is an attempt to erase the historical basis for the primary calendar dating system in the Western world.  "Common Era" has no real meaning, and even the origin of this term is unclear.  The 1972 Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has no entry for "Common Era."  CE is not recognized by [[ISO 8601]], [[international standard]] for [[date]] and [[time]] representations.
 
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There is no agreement over whether ''Christian Era'' or ''Common Era'' is more proper. Both occur in common dictionaries.  ''Christian Era'' has a longer history of usage and appears in more web pages today, but secular textbooks often prefer ''Common Era'' to avoid religious connotations. Occasionally the term ''Present Era (PE)'' is used.
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The term "Common Era" is an attempt to erase the historical basis for the primary calendar dating system in the Western world.  "Common Era" has no real meaning, and even the origin of this term is unclear.  The 1972 Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has no entry for "Common Era."  CE is not recognized by [[ISO 8601]], [[international standard]] for [[date]] and [[time]] representations.
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The established calendar dating system is based on the approximate birthday of [[Jesus]], and no one disputes that.  But this birth did not begin a "common" era, or any immediate change in history.  The 1997 [[Merriam-Webster]]'s Collegiate Dictionary gives a date of 1889 for the origin of the term "Common Era," but there is no indication  of who began using it then, and why.  Some claim it is a substitute for an occasional reference to the "Vulgar Era," with "vulgar" being Latin for "common" but acquiring a derogatory English meaning over time.
 
The established calendar dating system is based on the approximate birthday of [[Jesus]], and no one disputes that.  But this birth did not begin a "common" era, or any immediate change in history.  The 1997 [[Merriam-Webster]]'s Collegiate Dictionary gives a date of 1889 for the origin of the term "Common Era," but there is no indication  of who began using it then, and why.  Some claim it is a substitute for an occasional reference to the "Vulgar Era," with "vulgar" being Latin for "common" but acquiring a derogatory English meaning over time.

Revision as of 09:27, 22 February 2008

The term "Common Era" (CE) is an attempt to erase the historical basis for the primary calendar dating system in the Western world. "Common Era" has no real meaning, and even the origin of this term is unclear. The 1972 Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has no entry for "Common Era." CE is not recognized by ISO 8601, international standard for date and time representations.

The established calendar dating system is based on the approximate birthday of Jesus, and no one disputes that. But this birth did not begin a "common" era, or any immediate change in history. The 1997 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives a date of 1889 for the origin of the term "Common Era," but there is no indication of who began using it then, and why. Some claim it is a substitute for an occasional reference to the "Vulgar Era," with "vulgar" being Latin for "common" but acquiring a derogatory English meaning over time.

While use of "Common Era" attempts to erase recognition for the Christian basis of the calendar, there are not similar attempts to erase non-Christian religious names from the calendar, such as the days of the week named after Norse gods. Numerous texts, particularly schoolbooks, have replaced "B.C./A.D." with "Common Era" symbols over the past decade.

Consider this frank question and answer with a rabbi about the use of "Common Era," which illustrates that the term "Common Era" did not come from Judaism:[1]

Dear Rabbi:

I would like to know why we say "before the Common Era" and "Common Era" (BCE and CE).

I mean, why do we call it "common?" ...

Dear Viviane [],

When I was a school boy I thought that CE stood for "The Common Error."

Now, 25 years and a number of common errors later, I assume that Common Era simply means "the date commonly accepted and used." But the truth is that I don't know, so I asked your question to a professor of European history. He didn't know either.

Sources

  1. http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/263/Q3/