With certain dates I have come across some interesting abbreviations. What exactly are C.E. and B.C.E.?

In an effort not to offend those who are uncomfortable with the claims of Christ, many persons, in academic circles especially, prefer the abbreviations C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) over the traditional B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno domini, Latin for "in the year of the Lord"). The era is presumably "common" because all the world, even those who are not Christian, have the same calendar in common. So CE and BCE are the politically correct forms of AD and BC. (Actually, in parts of the world the year is 2001 only as far as international relations and commerce go, and as far as computers are concerned, since people may follow a different calendrical system for their religion. Judaism and Islam are two notable examples.)

Yet whether the abbreviation is changed or not, the number 2001 is still based on the notion that over 2000 years ago Jesus Christ was born; God became flesh; the most significant event of all history took place. (Yes, I am aware that the traditional reckoning of Christ's birth is probably four or six years too late--but that is another question.)

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