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To BC or BCE?

The terms BC, Before Christ and AD, Anno Domini, remain in common usage but have been expunged from the secular language of officialdom and academia.

Bible: To BC or BCE?

Photo: ALAMY

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11:23AM BST 02 Sep 2011

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While they may not be the language of everyday life, the new terms BCE, Before Common Era and CE , Common Era (first invented in the sixth century AD) are now the rule in order to express politically correct sensitivity to non-Christians.

Earlier this year, the first print run of a four-volume Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization was pulped by its American academic publishers following an outcry that it was biased in favour of Christianity, evidenced by its use of BC and AD instead of BCE and CE.

But, whether it’s BC or BCE, both systems take the Gregorian calendar as their starting point .

As the Telegraph’s Christopher Booker noted: “The trouble with this politically-correct effort to spare offence to Muslims, Jews, atheists or other non-Christians from the use of a dating system tied to Jesus, is that it prompts any child to ask ‘So what is this Common Era based on?’, and brings up the very point it seeks to avoid.”

Controversy is raging in Australia over changing the national curriculum to reflect the new BCE orthodoxy. The change was made in Britain nine years ago, sparking a similar controversy and claims by Christians that the authorities were “imposing political correctness in schools to ensure children are cut off from the past, for fear of upsetting someone”.

Defending the change, the British Qualifications and Curriculum Authority argued: “It’s not a question of one way is wrong and one is right, more a question of which is most commonly used. CE/BCE is becoming an industry standard among historians. Pupils have to be able to recognise these terms when they come across them.”

So should we BC or BCE?


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