From: David Moore (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Feb 20 1996 - 13:07:27 EST
On Mon, 19 Feb 1996, Will Wagers wrote:
> 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
> to 1/1/+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.
I was amazed the first time someone (was it you, Will Wagers)
posted this explanation to the list some time back. I've never come
across this system of figuring dates labeled "BCE" anywhere else. I'm
doubly surprised since the astronomy programs for computer that I have
make no mention of it, and regular B.C. dates work just fine for figuring
solar eclipses and such that took place in antiquity.
Do you have a reference you could cite (preferably in a general
encyclopedia rather than a specialized astronomy book)?
David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God
firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Education
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