Biblical Archaeology Review 27:3, May/June 2001

Queries & Comments

A Minister Who Prefers C.E. to A.D.

I see that you are yet again chastised for using B.C.E. and C.E. (Queries & Comments, BAR 27:01). As I have been an ordained minister since 1977 and have studied the Bible in depth from my childhood, perhaps I can put an end to this.

The use of B.C. and A.D. supposes that Jesus was born in year 1, which he was not. Even if he had been, we must keep in mind that “Christ” means “anointed one.” As Luke tells us, Jesus was not anointed with the holy spirit until his baptism at about age 30 (Luke 3:21–23). Even if Jesus had been born in year 1, the designations B.C. and A.D. would still be inaccurate by 30 years.

Should this matter of accuracy be important to those Christians who chastise you? Yes. In John’s gospel Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that all the faithful must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). As it would not be true to say that Jesus was born in the year 1 nor that he was Christ at his birth, for many decades now I have used the designations B.C.E. and C.E.—the C standing for “common.”

I hope that fellow Christians will appreciate these arguments and that BAR will enjoy the C.S.E.—Common Sense Era.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.