Re: Reply to: "C.E."

Sun, 30 Oct 1994 10:49:30 -0500

Read writes:
> However, using C.E. instead of A.D. for the reason that use of the
> latter requires making a "significant [religious] statement" then makes the
> use of C.E. a "significant [religious] statement."
This IMHO is not entirely correct. Saying `Anno Domini' is saying,
"In the year of our Lord," which, as a religious statement, surely carries
a greater weight (= `significance'?) than C.E. carries. This is particularly
true when one remembers that the BCE/CE convention began (AFAIK) with
Maimonides, who proposed BCE/ACE (meaning no more or less than: before/after
the start of the Christian Era) as a means of avoiding the utterance of
`Anno Domini.'

With time, the `A' was lost and it has become somewhat more common to
find Christian scholars using C.E. without, one might suppose, implying by
such use their rejection of the *theological* principle embedded in A.D. This
is not to say that one *cannot* be making a religious statement by using BCE
and CE; it is simply to say that one is not perforce making such a statement
in so doing.

Ken Jacobs