Google
 
Web rhymeswithright.mu.nu

April 26, 2005

B.C./A.D. Or B.C.E./C.E.

We got new textbooks at school last year. As I began to flip through them, I noticed that they used the traditional B.C./A.D. dating convention rather than the newer B.C.E./C.E. convention that has become more popular in recent years. Personally, I don’t have a problem with using either system, but it seems that folks on both sides of the debate are somewhat more worked up over it.

In certain precincts of a world encouraged to embrace differences, Christ is out.

The terms "B.C." and "A.D." increasingly are shunned by certain scholars.

Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms "Before Christ," or B.C., to "Before Common Era," or B.C.E., and "anno Domini" (Latin for "in the year of the Lord") to "Common Era." In short, they're referred to as B.C.E. and C.E.

The life of Christ still divides the epochs, but the change has stoked the ire of Christians and religious leaders who see it as an attack on a social and political order that has been in place for centuries.

For more than a century, Hebrew lessons have used B.C.E. and C.E., with C.E. sometimes referring to Christian Era.

This raises the question: Can old and new coexist in harmony, or must one give way to the other to reflect changing times and attitudes?

Now I don’t see why both sides cannot exist in harmony. The breaking point is still the same, and that is the life of Christ. But while I am generally accepting of the B.C.E./C.E., I was initially taught it as Before Christian Era and Christian Era. In my classes, I present both dating systems, and discuss the underlying reasons for using each. I also tell my students that they ultimately have to make a choice in what system to use, and that either one is acceptable – and then proceed to use B.C. and A.D myself for the rest of the year.

Now I am particularly shocked at this criticism that shows up in the article, indicating extreme ignorance or extreme bias.

Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, B.C. and A.D. have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero; there's a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs. Critics say that's additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.

Hold on just one moment. There is no 33-year gap between the eras. The year 1 B.C. is followed by 1 A.D., marking the traditional year of the birth of Christ (who probably was born between 7 B.C. and 4 B.C.) – there are no years floating around in limbo, falling into neither category. And the lack of a Year 0 is a rather absurd idea as well. After all, when we start counting something, we do not begin by labeling the first one as zero. No, we count them out sequentially, beginning with the number one. The arguments the article makes are just plain stupid, and I cannot imagine any serious scholar offering them.

Now there is a legitimate argument to be made against using B.C. and A.D., and that is the fact that it makes every date into a statement about a religious figure who is rejected by about 75% of the people of the world – more, if one recognizes there are a lot of folks out there who call themselves Christian who have no particular faith in Christ. I certainly understand where making a religious profession every time one uses a calendar might trouble them.

"When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar ... that's difficult for us," said Steven M. Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

I accept that argument, which is why I’m not troubled by the usage of B.C.E. and C.E. as meaning Before Christian Era and Christian Era. It accurately acknowledges the reason for the reason for making a change in dating in the traditional Western calendar system, but avoids requiring anything that resembles a profession of faith. At the same time, it does not engage in religious cleansing, in that it acknowledges the historical centrality of Christianity in the Western world.

Not everyone agrees with me, though.

Candace de Russy, a national writer on education and Catholic issues and a trustee for the State University of New York, doesn't accept the notion of fence-straddling.

"The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is not mere verbal tweaking; rather it is integral to the leftist language police -- a concerted attack on the religious foundation of our social and political order," she said.

For centuries, B.C. and A.D. were used in public schools and universities, and in historical and most theological research. Some historians and college instructors started using the new forms as a less Christ-centric alternative.

"I think it's pretty common now," said Gary B. Nash, director of the National Center for History in the Schools. "Once you take a global approach, it makes sense not to make a dating system applicable only to a relative few."

Now I think de Russy overstates the case. The original use of the term in Hebrew schools was designed to be sensitive to both Christians and Jews, and I think that principle certainly extends beyond those two groups and into the world as a whole. But I think Nash carries the argument too far, given that the logical implication of his position is that we should develop a whole new calendar that begins with the year 1 B.W.S.S. (Because We Say So). And that ignores the fact that for some 15 centuries, dates in the West have been calculated according to the system set up by Dionysius Exiguus. It has become the de facto dating system of the world.

In the end, I find myself coming down on the same side as the Professional Association of Georgia Educators’ Tim Callahan.

"Is that some sort of the political correctness?" said Tim Callahan, of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, an independent group with 60,000 educator members. "It sounds pretty silly to me."

The entire debate is rather silly. There are much greater issues for us to look at. In the end, any of the usages should be considered acceptable. This is a battle that does not need to be fought by either side, and from which all should disengage with an understanding that all three dating conventions will be tolerated. Anyone who cannot do that does not deserve to be taken seriously.



» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval



|| Greg, 08:28 PM || Permalink || Comments (0) || Comments

Comments on B.C./A.D. Or B.C.E./C.E.

Post a comment

Remember personal info?


 

 






» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg





Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)

Archives

January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



MuNuviana



Licensing

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64
AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure

adpolicy.gif

About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site


Support This Site



Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run

Blogroll


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs