Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Commonmas!

I was thinking today about the terms "BCE" and "CE," which in academic circles are replacing the designations "BC" and "AD" for specifying historical dates. "BCE" stands for "Before the Common Era." This might seem like a ridiculous piece of political correctness, but I can see one good reason for it: "AD" literally means "Anno Domini," or "The year of our Lord." I can understand why Jews, Muslims, or Athiests might not want to be forced to refer to "our Lord" in order to make themselves understood.

On the other hand, it is the Christian calendar. Calling it "Common" is pretty silly, especially since Muslims and others have their own calendars that they actively use. So maybe the right thing to do is to keep the new abreviations, but let the "CE" stand for "Christian Era." That's what it really is, and using a silly euphemism doesn't change that.

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