From: Will Wagers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Feb 19 1996 - 23:44:33 EST
Jim Beale writes:
>This is just a trivial question, and completely unrelated to B-GREEK,
>and so I beg your indulgence in this. What is the driving force
>behind the transition from A.D. to C.E.? Is it because we have become
>so ignorant of Latin that we don't even remember that A.D. means Anno
>Domini, year of our Lord? Or is it part of the secularization process
>that is continuing to remove all reference to Christ from the public
>arena? Or is there some other reason? And why Common Era (I think
>that's what it means)? What's so common about it?
I forgive you - just this once :).
Some other reason - the BC/AD system leaves out the year 0 making
calculations difficult, especially for astronomers. "Common" means
something like "Standard". Astronomers refer to standard astronomical
eras as reference points.
The old BC/AD convention has no year zero. Dates skip from 12/31/-1
Under the astronomical convention, there is a year zero. Dates run from
12/31/-1 thru 1/1/0 thru 12/31/0 to 1/1/+1. CE dates correspond to AD
dates, but BC and BCE dates differ by one year.
Originally, neither ignorance nor secularism had anything to do with it,
but since the new system exists, it has become a minor way to secularize.
PS This subject rarely fails to generate a flood of e-mail on any list.
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