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What is the meaning of AD, BC, BCE and CE?

The meaning of AD is Anno Domini or Year of our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth. The meaning of BC is Before Christ. CE is a recent term.  It refers to Common Era and is used in place of A.D. the dates are the same i.e., 2009 AD is 2009 CE. BCE means Before Common Era.  For example 400 BC is 400 BCE.

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When did we start using AD and BC?  Why?

Many different calendars have been used since man began tracking time.  Most start with some epoch event or person. The use of BC and AD for numbering calendar years was invented by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD.  His purpose was to determine the correct date for Easter under the direction of Pope St. John I.

Prior to this time, one method for determining Easter was based on a 532 year calendar cycle stemming from the Alexandrian era.  Other methods were also used which led to the confusion.  Dionysius was asked to determine a method for calculating Easter that would then be used by the entire church. Dionysius did not want to perpetuate the name of Alexander, the Great Persecutor.  He decided to start his 532-year cycle from 753 years after the Founding of Rome.

Today, based on historical evidence relating to Herod and astronomical data from the study of eclipses and star novas, most historians believe Christ was born a few years earlier. Dionysius named the years relating to his cycle, BC meaning Before Christ, which starts with year 1 and AD meaning Anno Domini, the year of Our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth. This is also a year 1.  There is no year 0.  That’s the reason purists insists the 21st century began January 1, 2001.   For example, the first year began in 1 AD and ended the beginning of  2 AD. So the first year of the 21st century begins in 2001 AD and ends with the beginning of 2002 AD. It took about 400 years for the dating system devised by Dionysius to reach common usage. In combination with the Julian Calendar system that determines the beginning of months and years, this continued until 1582 AD.  The number of each year is based on the Dionysius numbering system.

What_is_the_meaning_AD
'Today, based on historical evidence relating to Herod and astronomical data from the study of eclipses and star novas, most historians believe Christ was born a few years earlier.'

For more information on how it spread read our article What Did We Use Before BC and AD. The need for the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar came about because a year is not exactly 365 days long.  It is 365 and a quarter days long.  Every four years, March 1st moved behind a day until after centuries instead of being early spring March 1st was now the beginning of winter.  Something had to be done. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced in the Catholic parts of Europe in 1582 A.D.  by Pope Gregory XIII (then the religious leader of the Roman Catholic faith). It was an improvement upon the Julian Calendar to keep the average length of the calendar year better in line with the seasons.

Now here's a rule that will drive you crazy.  The rules, months, and days of the Gregorian calendar are the same as those of the Julian Calendar, except for the leap year rules. In the Gregorian calendar, a year is a leap year if the year number is evenly divisible by 4.  However century years follow a different rule. The number must be divisible by both 100 and 400 to be a leap year; otherwise it is not a leap year. For example, 1600 and 2000 are leap years, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not.

"The legal code of the United States does not specify an official national calendar. Use of the Gregorian calendar in the United States is a result of an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1751, which specified use of the Gregorian calendar in England and its colonies. However, its adoption in the United Kingdom and other countries was fraught with confusion, controversy, and even violence. It also had a deeper cultural impact through the disruption of traditional festivals and calendrical practices." (Seidelmann, P. Kenneth, Explanatory Supplement, United States Naval Observatory. Nautical Almanac, pg. 578)

The widespread use of the Gregorian calendar and the use of BC and AD throughout the world came about thanks to the colonization practices of Europe. And economic pressures of a worldwide economy led by Europe and the United States. This is gradually changing as more and more academic writers prefer the use of CE  rather than AD.

Related Articles:

What Did We Use Before BC and AD

 

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148 thoughts on “What is the meaning of AD, BC, BCE and CE?

  1. ..Jesus said : “No man can come to Me, except the Father(God) which hath sent Me draw(s) him: and I will raise (resurrect) him up at the last day.” … if God draws an individual to Jesus, that person’s soul will most certainly be saved and will be revived and carried to Heaven at the end of time ..
    If God chooses not to draw a person to Jesus, then they will be lost & sent to eternal torment in Hell — I suggest that we all should humble ourselves and tremble at His sacred feet & beg Jesus of Nazareth for mercy.

    1. What has this got to do with the history of naming different eras?

    2. They want to change it because they hate AD After death because it refers to Christ His resurrection and they hate the name of Jesus Christ because only through Faith in Jesus Christ can a person be saved from eternity in HELL FIRE. Gods judgment is coming all who rejects Jesus Christ will burn in HELL FIRE

  2. thx alot for making us wise on BC, BCE, AD and CE.

  3. BC, BCE, AD, CE, The names can change all they want and I’m sure more names will pop up in the future but they all refer the same Major event in history which is the Birth of Jesus and everybody knows that. “Current era?” What made it current my student asked me and I had to reply the only thing that changed from “current era” and “before current era” was the birth of Jesus. And yes they were 6 years off when they tried to calculate his birth in 526 bcdhklmnop. Probably because of the leap years. . . . . . I’d prefer not to change historical facts. That’s not very scientific no matter what you believe. We are all humans living on the same planet. Be good to each other.

    1. Being good is how people should treat each other but the fact remains every person is born into SIN and SIN will bend people to be bad and evil. Jesus Christ is the Savior and only when a person repents to Him believing in what He accomplished at the Cross and believing God raised Him from the dead. This is the Only Way to be Saved but sadly most will choose HELL FIRE. This is why they want to change BC and AD it reminds them a Judgment is coming

  4. There are more languages in the world than english. There is nothing holy about which words or abbreviations some english speaking people in any part of the world choose to use – as long as its meaning is clearly defined and those who read it know what is meant. Widen you horizon and perspectives, there are other cultures and languages in the world than yours. The latin used to be good since it was a common academic language though its status has somewhat declined and at least in Europe english gradually taking over – so it’s more fitting to have a.d. in understandable english for non-latin speakers from other cultures. No worries, in no way an attack on Christ or his supposed birthday as a reference date and in terms with norms and traditions in discussions and science in other languages of Christian nations.
    Thanks for the article it was an interesting and informing read.
    PS. Interesting to see that Dionysius seems to have started on his intended year-starting weekday but just 7 starting weekdays (that is years) to late. I wonder if it was originally an unintended mistake?
    PPS. And it makes one wonder on which day his first year started?

    1. Use what you like and stop being paranoid jerks, you were all given free will so use it. No god is gonna be like ‘hey, remember when you defended that timeline stuff on a site… You know, that calendar I totally told that guy to write through the pope. That told a ruler that basically held a blade to his throat? Thanks Bro’ *fist bump* No they’d look at you in shame, that this is something their prodigy has degraded to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not religious anymore and this shit is why. All of this around you is man made, your goddamn sacred tomes, civilization, pollution, nuclear weapons, slavery, racism, even the fuckin Chi-hua-hua that bit you as a kid. You are your own god, no one has a greater influence in your life than you. I’ve looked into so beliefs, you know what the Golden rule is? Don’t be a dick. Jesus existed, did some really neat stuff before his own people turned him over to be tortured and nearly turned into manjerky, that fella that piked him had better intentions than the lot of Christian’s I see, save very few. Jesus isn’t a damn comfort blanket to make you feel secure or start wars over, respect the man for who he was and stood for then move the fuck on… And Don’t be a dick

      1. To B.T. WOLF and all who hate God: It’s obvious which side you are on, child/thug of Satan. I will never take the hatred and demands you are vomiting forth, so hold your vile tongue.

        You all believe you are gods when you’ll all be answering to the one true God someday. There’s no way around it and every knee will bow to God (even Satan too) and admit that God is Lord.

        Satan knows God is Lord, but he doesn’t care since he wants to be worshipped only instead (Why? Because of pride! Such pride is poison which ruined him and anyone who follows his evil!) and he wants you not to care either.

        How? By using that same ploy/lie/scam that you can be a god yourself, something Satan will never let you be anyway! And neither of you can be so-called gods; you simply do not qualify and never will. I really pity you. You are so deceived!

        There’s a reason Hell has “gnashing of teeth”, something you’ll be doing in your new afterlife hellish “home” if you don’t stop being such a blind fool. It’s really easy to tell who is a child/thug of Satan these days by the rotten bile they spew forth of hatred.

        You have no dignity because Satan your master has none to teach you. You learn and know only hatred, evil, profanity, and lies. I repeat, neither you or your master Satan will ever be gods!

        You will never qualify because you have no true love and no humility, only the one true God is qualified. This is a fact that no one can challenge! Satan has been trying to challenge it for years on end, but he will never be successful. You will fail too, guaranteed.

        You are full of yourselves and it really shows. You are Satan’s puppet like so many others and I will pray for all your lost souls.

        Remember that God owes us nothing, but gives us life anyway (Why? Out of true love!) when we all deserve Hell for betraying Him.

        Adam and Eve wanted to be gods when Satan enticed them with that same scam he believes in (though he knows humans can never be god anyway – he hates God AND humans and animals and anything that is God’s!).

        We paid the price by being separated from God by listening to Satan when God told/warned them not to ahead of time! Humans are to blame for their own foolishness, period!

        Free will proves that God doesn’t control us like puppets and so we are responsible for our own foolishness! Anything good we do, THAT’S God’s doing, NOT ours!

        We are born as sinners with desperately wicked hearts, so it’s not hard for us to fall for Satan’s lies and scams. Learn this, humans were never good to begin with, we ALL need God to change us for the better! Or let Satan destroy us. The choice is ours.

        Separation from Life aka God is death people! Wake up before it’s too late! After you die, that’s it and God will judge you, me, everyone whether you like it or not, that’s how it is.

        Humans send themselves to Hell, NOT God! Be responsible for what you do/think/say and don’t blame God for this or anything!

        He doesn’t want you to go to Hell, but Satan does (Hell is meant for Satan and his fallen angels)!

        God will not let rotting evil in Heaven, so be right with Him! HE has the rights and final say, NOT us!

        Satan wants you not to believe in God and he doesn’t want you to believe in him either so he can confuse you, lie to you, brainwash you, and you won’t know how to stop him from ambushing you. And Satan will get you to like his evil instead, even love it so you do his dirty work and kill your fellow humans aka “enemies”.

        Humans are not supposed to be enemies to other humans.

        Satan is the real enemy!

        He wants us to hate each other and God. It’s so obvious now, look at the world!

        It’s being prepared for Satan aka thee Anti-Christ who people will foolishly love because he wants our wicked hearts run wild (something we want) before he devours us alive (something we should not want)!

        Us being evil makes it easier for him to destroy us; the Bible warns of this beforehand – read it! And yes, I have.

        Humans are supposed to judge angels and be their masters and the fallen ones hated that decision from God and rebelled. (The good ones know their place unlike some people and fallen angels, so they have passed their humility tests unlike Satan and his allies.)

        So Satan and his followers always scam humans to believe their lies and get us to destroy one another and ourselves. The Bible shows this to be true, really read it people! Do some real research (don’t use Google – they hide results Satan doesn’t approve of), best to use the DuckDuckGo search engine.

        It’s very simple to figure this all out once you climb out of Satan’s rotting lap, unwrap his claws around your skull, and tell him that you’re deaf to him and really read the Bible (better than most is the original KJV).

        God is the one who has mercy, not Satan. Choose who you want to be with. If you choose neither, you have just chosen Satan and he’s waiting to devour you all whether or not you follow him.

        The only way to escape his evil is God.

        You can not care for yourself and your fellow humans if you follow Satan. Satan doesn’t have the final say, God does.

        An eternity is a long time to be wrong and have regrets…

        If anyone complains that this response has nothing to with the BC/AD and BCE/CE terms, tell B.T. WOLF that his/her vile bile of hatred/insults/demands truly have no place here or anywhere! And this person isn’t the only one here who proved themselves a child/thug of Satan. Never heed the hatred fools spew.

        Do not miss the wisdom in this response.

        Care about your soul (and others too! I do, which is why this response is here! God cares about you; Satan wants you dead and tormented in the afterlife!) and be concerned where you’ll be spending eternity.

        Take this wisdom and advice however you wish. God forces no one to accept Him, but Satan will destroy you whether you refuse him and/or accept him.

        God will protect you from Satan if you truly choose Him (I repeat, God doesn’t force Himself on anyone, but Satan always does!)

        I repeat the same things over and over because they are very important.

        You are easy prey for Satan, just like he wants, but God will stop Satan.

        He lets certain things happen, even bad things because we want them to. How? By telling God to get out of our lives (so we have unfit leaders, pain, suffering, hunger, death, etc). Then we are given examples of how not to be and how we should be when God’s children speak, and ultimately, all this proves that humanity needs God.

        We have utterly failed to do things our way. Our planet is polluted, we are polluted, people are starving, dying, because we betrayed God and told Him to take a hike and some even say He doesn’t exist. God says alright, let’s see how well you do without me then.

        What do we do without God? We kill, rape, steal, lie, pillage, destroy, and hate. How can anyone expect people with those horrid traits get into Heaven at all and especially without God? Come on!

        Our “fruits” are worthless trash, even things that look good/great to us. We need real help. We NEED God. Period.

        Of course, you don’t have to, only if you truly want to – help God and yourself by rejecting evil and Satan’s scams. The world will be a better place, guaranteed.
        Or you can let yourself and others become Satan’s food and tortured toys.

        As always, the choice is yours.

  5. BCE = Before Christian Era
    CE = Christian Era
    🙂

    1. C.E. really is not a recent term, unless you mean over the last several hundred years. It is not uncommon to see “C.E.” or “of the Common Era” on documents written around the time of this nation’s founding.

      This is the reason it is so remarkable that, contrary to atheist contentions that the Constitution does not mention God, the framers chose to express the date as “in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

    2. Sorry. It has always been the Common Era. If you go back several hundred years, it was often spelled out “of the Common Era.” It is abbreviated C.E.

  6. AD? CE? BC? Actually, as I write this on September 1, 2019 AD, the year is actually 5778 from creation. I believe this dating system is the timing of the Scriptures and not AD, BC, CE, etc. I think that this “changing of time” may have been referred to in Daniel 7:25 by the “diverse king” who comes after the ten kings. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to CHANGE TIMES and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:25). Those of us who are Gentiles sometimes approach the Scriptures thinking they are about us. Actually, the Scriptures are about Israel and Israel’s Messiah, Who grafted us Gentiles–a wild branch–in to the Root of Israel (Rom 11:17).
    Just another way of looking at it.

  7. INFORMATIVE,
    Maybe it was a reason why lots of races, tribe, and country dont rely in GREGORIAN CALENDAR , JULIAN CALENDAR , SOTHIC CALENDAR , ROMAN CALENDAR because it gives a lot if CONFUSION in calculating and tracking time and date ….
    Like MUSLIM, they RELY IN THERE OWNED ARABIC CALENDAR…..

    Thanks

  8. Question?
    Tell me how the Christian world accepts the 10 Commandments up until the 4th Commandment when God say explicitly “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy”…..but it is the one that most want to forget…..the Sabbath which is Saturday in many languages is put aside.
    The significance of Gods sovereignty over the universe will be wholly binding for eternity….and He calls His true worshippers out of Babylon(confusion) into a greater experience with Him……who will take a stand for God, when He gave everything (Jesus) for us!?!?

  9. I like to say that B.C.E doesn’t mean “Before thr Common Era” bu t it means “Before Christ Existed” and the C.E isn’t “Common Era” but “Christ Exists”.

  10. If you really want to know more about the “timelines” which the Bible does not give, as the Bible is truly “timeless”, read a work by an Anglican Archbishop James Ussher The Annals of the World (written around 1650) and then a more recent dissertation by Dr Floyd Nolen Jones The Chronology of the Old Testament 1993.

    I do know that the introduction of the BCE and CE was meant to remove Christ even further away from the world. I am with Bruce Beckwith as I also say Before Christ Existed and Christ Exists…. drives the non-believers crazy… LOL…

    1. Ussher based his chronology on 7 Millenial periods of time, and thus his dates are made to add to that. e.g.: creation in 4004Bc to his date for Christ’s birth: 4 BC, 4BC to the end of this age in 1997AD,etc. The bible allows for more time than this (up to 400 years difference to creation based on Hebrew MSS), though many think their chronologies are the only ones that work.

  11. All I want to say is I love you all, God bless and all glory goes to the Lord Jesus Christ Amen! Never forget because when you truly have your Jesus moment ,theirs no longer going back because you finally see he loves you no matter who or what you are. So wait in him in the spirit because the kingdom’s of this world are the kingdom’s of our Lord . All will see his glory , and he wants you me and all to see his love and turn from the sin the world has cast upon us we must resist the devil and put on the full armor of God. God bless you all amen. None of this cheap matters bc,ad, ass ,whatever he’s drawn the line where do we stand .

  12. Golly Gee ! What a fascinating collection of nerdy opinion. One out of 5 children anywhere of any religion go to bed hungry; any calendar you name or create counts the days of their hunger pains. We only have a short time on earth, all you nerds should get off your educated duffs and do something that requires GRACE. Now there’s a subject….have you even heard of it ?

  13. These days, BC stands for Before COVID.

  14. All these “scholars” on here. Lol.

  15. I’m not religious at all, so BC/AD never bothered me. It’s a matter of how sensitive people are to all that stuff.Looking at society today, pulling itself apart over notions that didn’t matter so much. Now all the tiny things are driving people to madness – for literally no reason. Very entertaining to watch as none of it bothers me.

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