The use of "CE" and "BCE" to identify dates

CE stands for "Common Era." It is a new term that is experiencing increased usage and is eventually expected to replace AD... BCE stands for "Before the common era." It is expected to replace BC, which means "Before Christ..." Source: I had to go googling because my history book uses B.C.E and B.C. all over the place. I have never seen this, of course the last time I looked at a history book was my senior year of high school. I figured BCE = BC and thus CE had to equal AD, but I am so used to BC and AD for dates that I have to make a conscious effort when I see 40,000 B.C.E, for example. or 1200 C.E. If I read 1200 AD, it would be instantaneous, and I could move on in the reading and know exactly what time I was reading about. My mind gets hard wired for things like that. Thats just the way our mind works. Just like, for example, I was taught in school that you put 2 spaces after a period (that ended a sentence). Then all of a sudden it became one space. I have gotten used to this new syntax, but for a while I had to concisely think about it every time I typed a paper in college. Further Readings: Why space-space is a no-no

Comments (5)

I recently learned that one space is the rule now. I was surprised to see this, but the explaination in your link is the best I have seen as to why.

I just assumed MS was asserting it's usual standards practice on the world.


BC and BCE have been in use for more than 25 years among academics. I was graduated with degrees in history and political science in 1979 and they were being used then.

Well I remember in my K-12 education BC and AD, that is where I am coming from. Like I said, this is my first foray into history in Higher Education.

I remember taking a world history class my junior year of high school, that would have been about 1996, and my textbook used BC and AD.

Until now I have never seen the BCE and CE syntax used.


the only books in my catholic school that use ce and bce are the religion books. isnt that ironic


I'm a freshman in high school, and I've been reading a lot into this lately for a school assignment This is such a touchy issue!

I'm Christian with my own views on Christianity, and have been reading things that talk about the origins of our days and months' names. They are all derivitives of Roman/Norse religions, so on account of that, they're ok to use. Of course, anything Christian is BAD. Can you see where I'm coming from, though?

I understand that not all folks are Christian, and that focusing on one religion causes what has been called "social division." But what is it, then, when one religion's effects are completely eradicated? Come on folks!

Like I said, I'm only a freshman but I've been brought up using and seeing BC/AD and was introduced to BCE/CE in the sixth grade.

The specific information I'm looking for is why the Jewish in ancient societies didn't use BC/AD. Pretty obvious, huh? If you have any suggestions though, please email me.

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