The Common Era: A Pet Peeve

The problem with being the type of person who regularly reads and talks about events that happened a really long time ago is that you develop pet peeves. Like mine about the terms BCE and CE.

BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) are touted as the politically correct alternative to BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini [Year of Our Lord]). Which is great! By all means, let’s have a common era.

But the problem with the BCE/CE system is that it isn’t any broader than BC/AD. Year 0 is the same. Taking one group’s system and changing some letters doesn’t make an unbiased system, it makes nice wallpaper. If you really want to create a common era, pick a year at random and make that Year 0.


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