Biblical Archaeology Review 23:6, November/December 1997


BAR to N.Y. Times: We Told Ya …

Whether to use B.C./A.D. or B.C.E./C.E.—a subject that has engendered fierce battles in the pages of this magazine—has proved no less contentious for New York Times columnist and language expert William Safire, who recently discussed the issue in his Sunday feature “On Language.”

In an earlier column he had simply raised the question. The response was enormous. “What a mail pull,” he wrote. A veritable “Kulturkampf,” a culture war. So on August 17, 1997, he devoted an entire page of the New York Times Magazine to the matter.

A Yale professor wrote, “Every scholar I know uses B.C.E. and shuns A.D.”

Another correspondent wrote: “It is one thing to deny the divinity of Christ. It is quite another to deny His historical existence, which is what is implied by the superfluous switch from the traditional B.C. to the P.C. B.C.E.”

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