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What’s the Difference Between BCE/CE and BC/AD and Who Came Up with These Systems?

What’s the Difference Between BCE/CE and BC/AD and Who Came Up with These Systems?


BCE (Before Common Era) and BC (Before Christ)
mean the same thing- previous to year 1 CE (Common Era). This is the same as the year AD 1 (Anno Domini);
the latter means “in the year of the lord,” often translated as “in the year of our
lord.” (It was thought when the AD dating system
was created that its year 1 was the year Jesus of Nazareth was born.) Anno Domini was the first of these to appear. Prior to the 6th century AD, many Christians
who didn’t use an Anno Mundi (in the year of the world) type system relied on Roman
dating, either marking dates from the year legend had it that Romulus and Remus founded
Rome (753 BC) or by relying on the date system established under the Roman emperor Diocletian
(244-311), based on the accession of Diocletian. The_Christian_MartyrsHowever, most Christians
weren’t too fond of Diocletian, since he brutally persecuted them in the latter part
of his reign in the late third / early fourth century. This was supposedly in part a response to
advice Diocletian received at the oracle of Apollo at Didyma. Previous to this, he had purportedly only
advocated banning Christians from such things as the military and ruling body in hopes that
would appease the gods. Afterward, he switched to an escalating policy
of persecution to try to get Christians to worship the Roman gods. This began simply via seizing Christian’s
property, destroying their homes, burning all Christian texts, etc. When this sort of thing was ineffective, they
progressed to arresting and torturing Christians, starting with the leaders. When that didn’t work, Christians began
to be killed in various brutal ways including occasionally being torn apart by animals for
the amusement of the masses (Damnatio ad bestias). This method of convincing people to worship
the Roman gods ended up being an amazing failure and the persecution appears to have only continued
after AD 305 in the Eastern half of the empire under Galerius and Maximinus. Finally, in April of AD 311, by imperial decree,
the Great persecution was put to an end even in the East. A few years later, Constantine the Great (reigning
from AD 306 to 337) publicly declared himself a Christian and Christianity began to transition
into the dominate religion in the Roman Empire. In any event, Easter was/is the most important
holy day of the Christian tradition, and it was decided at the First Council of Nicaea
(AD 325) that it should occur each year on the Sunday following the first full moon after
the spring equinox. In order to forecast when exactly the holiday
fell each year, Easter tables were created. In AD 525, the monk Dionysius Exiguus of Scythia
Minor was working on his table to determine when Easter fell when he decided to eliminate
reference to Diocletian by listing his table’s first year as Anno Domini 532, explicitly
stating this was referring to the year directly following the last year of the old Diocletian-based
table, Anno Diocletiani 247. How Dionysius came up with 525 years since
Jesus was born at the time he was calculating his table (532 years from when the table’s
dates began) isn’t clear, but he wasn’t far off the range most biblical scholars today
think, with the more modern estimates tending to ring in somewhere between 6 to 4 BC for
the actual birth of Christ. The Anno Domini system, sometimes called the
Dionysian Era or Christian Era, began to catch on among the clergy in Italy relatively soon
after and, though not terribly popular, did spread somewhat among the clergy in other
parts of Europe. Most notably, in the 8th century, the English
monk Bede (now known as the Venerable Bede) used the dating system in his wildly popular
Ecclesiastical History of the English People (AD 731). This is often credited with not only popularizing
the calendar reference, but also introducing the concept of BC, notably setting 1 BC to
be the year prior to AD 1, ignoring any potential zero year. (This is no surprise as Bede, like Dionysius,
didn’t have a numeral zero to work with, see: The Story of Zero. However, they both did at various times reference
the Latin nihil, “nothing”, in certain places in calculating their tables where the
number zero should have gone had they had such a numeral.) It should also be noted that Bede didn’t
actually use any such “BC” abbreviation, but rather in just one instance mentioned
a year based on ante incarnationis dominicae tempus (“before the time of the lord’s
incarnation”). While there would be rare sporadic mentions
of years “before the time of the lord’s incarnation” from here on out, it wouldn’t
be until Werner Rolevinck’s 1474 work Fasciculus Temporum that it would be used repeatedly
in a work. The English, “Before Christ” didn’t
appear until the latter half of the 17th century and it wouldn’t be until the 19th century
that it would be abbreviated. Shortly after the Ecclesiastical History of
the English People, Anno Domini was used officially under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor
Charlemagne (AD 742-814) and in the 11th century, it was adopted for official use by the Roman
Catholic Church. CE and BCE are much more recent inventions. This started in the 17th century, with the
advent of the term Vulgar Era; this wasn’t because people considered it to be an age
when everyone was coarse or rude, but because “vulgar” more or less meant “ordinary”
or “common”, thus reflecting that the era was “of or belonging to the common people”
(from the Latin vulgaris). The first documented instance of the Vulgaris
Aerae (Vulgar Era, meaning “Common Era”) being used interchangeably with Anno Domini
was featured in Latin works by Johannes Kepler in 1615, 1616, and 1617. The English version of phrase later appeared
in 1635 in an English translation of Kepler’s 1615 work. (In the mid-seventeenth century the English
“vulgar” took on a new definition of “coarse,” but it wouldn’t be until this “coarse/unrefined”
definition would become more common in the 20th century that referring to the Vulgar
Era would cease.) The Latin phrase Aerae Christianae (Christian
Era) and the associated English “Christian Era” was also used by some in the 17th century,
such as when Robert Sliter employed it in his A Celestiall Glass or Ephemeris for the
Year of the Christian Era 1 (1652). Shortly thereafter, another “CE” came
about with Common Era used interchangeably with Vulgar Era, first appearing in the 1708
edition of The History of the Works of the Learned and again in David Gregory’s The
Elements of Astronomy (1715). As for the actual abbreviation, CE (Common
Era) has been claimed to have been used as early as 1831, though I couldn’t find specifically
in what work it is supposed to have appeared in. Whatever the case, both it and BCE (Before
the Common Era) definitely appeared in Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall’s Post-Biblical History
of the Jews in 1856. The use of BCE and CE was particularly popular
in the Jewish community where they were keen to avoid using any nomenclature explicitly
referring to Christ as “the lord.” Today, BCE and CE instead of BC and AD has
become fairly common among other groups for similar reasons.

100 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between BCE/CE and BC/AD and Who Came Up with These Systems?

  1. If you found that video fascinating check out this video and find out How the Modern Calendar Came to Be:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPUseCtqvlU

  2. Both BC/AD and CE/BCE are fine. We know what they're talking about. I see an argument for keeping BC/AD since it explicitly states what the dating system refers to, but in any case the ship has sailed long ago. We know both are the same. Stop being so offended lol

  3. Thank you. Will u get back to talking about your passion, so easy to see your brain and heart would like to be anyplace but where you are. Thank you

  4. A couple of years ago I was at a Museum in Wisconsin and they used BP (Before Present). PC has infected academia in Wisconsin. BC is based on a fixed point in time. BP could mean three days ago. I'll stick with BC.

  5. The Roman's and later "Roman" Catholicism did a real number on trying to prevert and distort origanal Judao Christianity. Roman Catholicism really is the wolf in sheeps clothing.

  6. I will stick with BC and AD, i did learn something though, I had always thought AD meant after death, never heard of anno Domini before.

  7. I just don't see enough scientific evidence to make the change. The BCE / CE is based on nothing at all, where at least the BC / AD was based on a historic event.

  8. I find it incredibly fascinating just how many people throughout how many years spent an incredible time discussing and figuring out dates etc.. about something and someone that may not have existed in the first place. Not to mention how many wars and how many people died over something and someone whom probably didn’t even exist, something ya can’t see, touch, or hear.. absolutely fascinating.

  9. in spanish, a latin language, we just say "AC and DC" which mean "antes de cristo" (before christ) and "despues de cristo" (after christ)… while i understand the appeal of having a way to reffere to the years that is not religion related, (such as with the common era refference), I have to say it makes sense for a language where most speakers are historically christian =P

  10. It's odd that I remember being really young and being told BCE was " before Christ Era" and never being told otherwise and somehow I thought it was wrong for years and thought I had been misinformed

  11. No BCE and BC do not mean the same thing. One removes christ. Before christ is person specific. Further removing god out of the human history and how we live.

  12. Sounds pretty one sided..What about all of the rest of the world? Also, sounds so confussing almost like someone is trying to hide some thing…I kinda fucking sucks!

  13. quiet interesting how this new generation keeps changing the history books because I remember over 40 years ago that BC and AD meant Before Christ and After Death. It's all the atheists that want to take religion out of everything .. it's very sad what today's textbooks or liberal teachers are teaching young people. no wonder why this planet is going to 💩 💩

  14. Sounds like a meth head trying to impress himself.
    Sorry, you're just so distracting in your presentation!

  15. What I find fascinating is that the whole world adopted this b.c and a.d. It shows how the existence of Christ was so influential that many empires adopt this standard.

  16. Guess what, Common and Christ share the same first letter so:
    BCE/CE Before Christian Era/Christ's Era
    dear heathens: 💪🅱️es🅿️a©️i✝️🅾️

  17. Always was BC now BCE . Why more political correctness . Cant anyone keep things the same .
    I may be a Muslim and I'm fed up with changes . Jesus if he existed wasn't born on year 0 I'm sure of that but we have had 2000 years using BC and AD why have we the rite to change it

  18. If you think God actually cares how we label our years you’ve lost it. IF he did I’d say he’d want it to be accurate and this video explains why the “before Christ” isn’t accurate. So maybe calm down.

  19. Im not religious but im sticking with BC and AD because it looks better. Do we change our calender too? What bout our years?

  20. LOL do you think you talk fast enough? it sucks we have to put the speed down to 0.75 or 0.5 to realize what the hell you are talking about. Moving along to find a video where the guy can speak in normal speed and actually teach something……

  21. Alot of Christians were horrificly put to death back then but thats ok because they followed the only human being who ever defeated death so their physical deaths however horrific meant absolutely nothing because through Christ they became immortal. Those rules still apply today and until the end of what we know as time. Jesus Christ is Lord! 💯

  22. As a side job I tutor History and a few other subjects at the high school and college level.

    I continue to tutor and teach the proper AD/BC dating conventions.

    About two years ago a teacher threatened to fail a student of mine on an exam for not using what is now the Politically Correct CE/BCE conventions. This despite a perfect score of 100%.

    One of my contractual agreements with parents who hire me is that I will attend teacher conferences. I've attended many over the years

    When the teacher learned that I was the student's tutor and her parents had scheduled a conference that I was going to attend the teacher withdrew the failing grade and passed the student with the well earned 100%.

    It benefits my side profession to also be a rare/antique book collector. Mainly History books.
    Teachers know that I come armed with over fifteen decades of accumulated knowledge on the subject. They on the other hand have their copy/paste government issued text book as their only defense.

    I respect teachers….most of them. Far too many are caving into the pressures of this Politically Correct Post Modern Era by teaching their students Revisionist History full of misconceptions, bias and outright lies.
    These are teachers for which I lack respect.

  23. Ok, I see now. People started taking Christ name out of things or reference, particularly the Orthodox Jewish community. Makes sense. They wanted him dead to begin with and now, look at how they've spread their hate towards Jesus. Js

  24. You are like running 100 meter dash, youre too fast, like a clucking hen, can you talk and explain slowly man?👎👎🤣🙈

  25. I like what Neil Degrasse Tyson said, look up his stance on it, he is a lot smarter than all of us commenting on YouTube videos lol.

  26. Before 1600, most of Europe was using the Julian calendar that dated all the way back to Julius Caesar. Because of the way that calendar was calculated, the Julian calendar was/is off by 1 day every 128 years.

    Because of the growing error with the calendar, Pope Gregory adopted a revised calendar in 1582, now called the Gregorian calendar.

    Prior to the Russian tsar, Peter the Great, the Russians used a calendar based on the Julian calendar and Byzantine timelines. The new year was September 1st, and year was 7207. But on Gregorian date January 1, 1600 Peter the Great changed the Russian calendar to align with the rest of Europe.

    The Chinese zodiac calendar is based on a lunar year and starts 2600 years ago.

    Tunc dicitur per comparationem.

  27. The 13-month, 28-day alternative has been in use on this planet for more than 6000 years. In prehistoric India and China, and throughout South America it was the standard time-keeping system. The Essenes, Egyptians, Polynesians, Maya, Inca, Lakota, and Cherokee used a 13-month, 28-day calendar. The Celtic knowledge of the Druids is based on the Tree Calendar, also a 13-month, 28-day calendar.

    The Roman emperors and the Catholics really messed things up.

  28. It's funny how many YouTubers think that they speak English and yet are squarely lost when a native speaker of English speaks the language at normal conversation speed. That's one of the reasons I don't take YouTube comments too seriously. You can't expect much from someone who can't even understand what you're saying. 🙂

  29. Using BCE and CE make no sense , I always used BC and AD in my college writing and had a nice paragraph that I wrote back to any professor who disputed my usage of the proper acronym to reference the calendar that was invented by priests , if you do not like it invent a different system rather than renaming it

  30. Well, I learned long ago if you can't explain something simply enough then 2 reasons arise: 1) You do not know it well enough your self by side-stepping and generalizing more then specifying, or 2) Your aim to answer became lost in an attempt to share everything you studied alongside that particular information ignoring others' peace of mind to feed your own frenzied.

  31. Your site is more B.S. than B.C.E…..K.I.S.S…..STUPID RATTLER! WHY not Blame who changed it….and get it over with….with a simple explanation! Dumb Shit!

  32. Diarrhea of the mouth and Constipation of the Brain! Who writes for you? Is he/she and idiot or just plain stupid?

  33. Anti christian PC bullshit is what it is introduced by liberal academics so as not to offend those always offended.

  34. BC and AD is just words to date things. I mean why make such a big deal about it. I mean it is not as if any serious Scholar doubts tyat there was a guy called Jesus that got baptized by John the Baptist, He had 12 disciples, He did miracles are was at least known for doing miracles and was crucified. Some scholars say that the crucifixion of Jesus is tge most certain fact that we know about the ancient world. You do not have to believe that Jesus was God if you use the term BC or AD, it would atleast make people appreciate the Catholic church for keeping our history intact. If it were not for them all of those wars that led humanity into the darkages we would have lost all that we have about ancient history.

  35. as I saw your video , I eventually thought that it was mistakenly in fast forward but then I realized that it is in normal speed.YoU speak so fast .

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