A.D. vs C.E.

by michaelhodges3


I posted something yesterday that has been on my mind since.

I referrred to the ‘eighteenth century’  as ‘the eighteenth century A.D.’.  It occurred to me that non-Christians may find this inappropriate, as ‘A.D.’ means ‘Anno Domini’ – the ‘Year of Our Lord’, a Christian form of dating based on the birth of Jesus as its starting point.  It has become fashionable to substitute ‘Common Era’ (‘C.E.’) for ‘A.D.’.

However, I dislike using C.E. (and B.C.E. – ‘Before Common Era’), because it suggests that the birth of Jesus should be taken as the starting point in year-counting by everyone, including non-Christians.  So to me, A.D. is a more honest label than C.E.

And A.D. is a term used in eighteenth-century England itself, so using it helps to give a flavour of those times

Also, I wanted to make it clear that I was talking about the eighteenth century A.D. (250 years ago) rather than the eighteenth century B.C. (‘Before Christ’ i.e. 4000 years ago).

Take care,