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Common Era (CE) is one of the notation systems for the world's most widely used calendar era. BCE (Before the Common Era or Before the Current Era) is the era before CE. BCE and CE are alternatives to the Dionysian BC and AD system respectively. The Dionysian era distinguishes eras using AD (anno Domini, "[the] year of [the] Lord") and BC ("before Christ"). Since the two notation systems are numerically equivalent, "2019 CE" corresponds to "AD 2019" and "400 BCE" corresponds to "400 BC".[a] Both notations refer to the Gregorian calendar (and its predecessor, the Julian calendar). The year-numbering system used by the Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today, and is an international standard for civil calendars.
The expression has been traced back to 1615, when it first appeared in a book by Johannes Kepler as the Latin usage annus aerae nostrae vulgaris, and to 1635 in English as "Vulgar[b] Era". The term "Common Era" can be found in English as early as 1708, and became more widely used in the mid-19th century by Jewish religious scholars. In the later 20th century, the use of CE and BCE was popularized in academic and scientific publications as a culturally neutral term. It is also used by some authors and publishers who wish to emphasize sensitivity to non-Christians by not explicitly referencing Jesus as "Christ" and Dominus ("Lord") through use of the abbreviation[c] "AD".
The year numbering system used with Common Era notation was devised by the Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525 to replace the Era of Martyrs system, because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. He attempted to number years from an initial reference date ("epoch"), an event he referred to as the Incarnation of Jesus. Dionysius labeled the column of the table in which he introduced the new era as "Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi".
Numbering years in this manner became more widespread in Europe with its usage by Bede in England in 731. Bede also introduced the practice of dating years before what he supposed was the year of birth of Jesus, and the practice of not using a year zero.[d] In 1422, Portugal became the last Western European country to switch to the system begun by Dionysius.
Johannes Kepler first used "Vulgar Era" to distinguish dates on the Christian calendar from the regnal year typically used in national law.
The term "Common Era" is traced back in English to its appearance as "Vulgar Era" to distinguish dates on the Ecclesiastic calendar in popular use from dates of the regnal year, the year of reign of a sovereign, typically used in national law. (The word 'vulgar' originally meant 'of the ordinary people', with no derogatory associations).
The first use of the Latin term anno aerae nostrae vulgaris[e] discovered so far was in a 1615 book by Johannes Kepler. Kepler uses it again, as ab Anno vulgaris aerae, in a 1616 table of ephemerides, and again, as ab anno vulgaris aerae, in 1617. A 1635 English edition of that book has the title page in English - so far, the earliest-found usage of Vulgar Era in English. A 1701 book edited by John LeClerc includes "Before Christ according to the Vulgar Æra, 6". A 1716 book in English by Dean Humphrey Prideaux says, "before the beginning of the vulgar æra, by which we now compute the years from his incarnation." A 1796 book uses the term "vulgar era of the nativity".
The first so-far-discovered usage of "Christian Era" is as the Latin phrase annus aerae christianae on the title page of a 1584 theology book. In 1649, the Latin phrase annus æræ Christianæ appeared in the title of an English almanac. A 1652 ephemeris is the first instance so-far-found for English usage of "Christian Era".
The English phrase "common Era" appears at least as early as 1708, and in a 1715 book on astronomy is used interchangeably with "Christian Era" and "Vulgar Era". A 1759 history book uses common æra in a generic sense, to refer to the common era of the Jews. The first-so-far found usage of the phrase "before the common era" is in a 1770 work that also uses common era and vulgar era as synonyms, in a translation of a book originally written in German. The 1797 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica uses the terms vulgar era and common era synonymously. In 1835, in his book Living Oracles, Alexander Campbell, wrote: "The vulgar Era, or Anno Domini; the fourth year of Jesus Christ, the first of which was but eight days", and also refers to the common era as a synonym for vulgar era with "the fact that our Lord was born on the 4th year before the vulgar era, called Anno Domini, thus making (for example) the 42d year from his birth to correspond with the 38th of the common era..." The Catholic Encyclopedia (1909) in at least one article reports all three terms (Christian, Vulgar, Common Era) being commonly understood by the early 20th century.
The phrase "common era", in lower case, also appeared in the 19th century in a generic sense, not necessarily to refer to the Christian Era, but to any system of dates in common use throughout a civilization. Thus, "the common era of the Jews", "the common era of the Mahometans", "common era of the world", "the common era of the foundation of Rome". When it did refer to the Christian Era, it was sometimes qualified, e.g., "common era of the Incarnation", "common era of the Nativity", or "common era of the birth of Christ".
An adapted translation of Common Era into pseudo-Latin[f] as Era Vulgaris was adopted in the 20th century by some followers of Aleister Crowley, and thus the abbreviation "e.v." or "EV" may sometimes be seen as a replacement for AD.
History of the use of the CE/BCE abbreviation
Although Jews have their own Hebrew calendar, they often use the Gregorian calendar, without the AD prefix. As early as 1825, the abbreviation VE (for Vulgar Era) was in use among Jews to denote years in the Western calendar. As of 2005, Common Era notation has also been in use for Hebrew lessons for more than a century. In 1856, Rabbi and historian Morris Jacob Raphall used the abbreviations CE and BCE in his book Post-Biblical History of The Jews.[g] Jews have also used the term Current Era.
Some academics in the fields of theology, education and history have adopted CE and BCE notation, although there is some disagreement. Several style guides now prefer or mandate its usage.
The style guide for the Episcopal Diocese Maryland Church News says that BCE and CE should be used.
In the United States, the usage of the BCE/CE notation in textbooks was reported in 2005 to be growing. Some publications have moved over to using it exclusively. For example, the 2007 World Almanac was the first edition to switch over to the BCE/CE usage, ending a 138-year usage of the traditional BC/AD dating notation. It is used by the College Board in its history tests, and by the Norton Anthology of English Literature. Others have taken a different approach. The US-based History Channel uses BCE/CE notation in articles on non-Christian religious topics such as Jerusalem and Judaism.
In 2002, an advisory panel for the religious education syllabus for England and Wales recommended introducing BCE/CE dates to schools, and by 2018 some local education authorities were using them. In 2018, the National Trust said it would continue to use BC/AD as its house style.English Heritage explains its era policy thus: "It might seem strange to use a Christian calendar system when referring to British prehistory, but the BC/AD labels are widely used and understood." Some parts of the BBC use BCE/CE, but others have refused to do so As at October 2019, the BBC News style guide has entries for AD and BC, but not for CE or BCE.
In June 2006, in the United States, the Kentucky State School Board reversed its decision to use BCE and CE in the state's new Program of Studies, leaving education of students about these concepts a matter of discretion at the local level.
Also in 2011, media reports suggested that the BC/AD notation in Australian school textbooks would be replaced by BCE/CE notation. The story became national news and drew opposition from some politicians and church leaders. Weeks after the story broke, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority denied the rumour and stated that the BC/AD notation would remain, with CE and BCE as an optional suggested learning activity.
In 2013 the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) in Ottawa, which had previously switched to BCE/CE, decided to change back to BC/AD in material intended for the public, while retaining BCE/CE in academic content.
The style guide for The Guardian says, under the entry for CE/BCE: "some people prefer CE (common era, current era, or Christian era) and BCE (before common era, etc) to AD and BC, which, however, remain our style".
The use of CE in Jewish scholarship was historically motivated by the desire to avoid the implicit "Our Lord" in the abbreviation AD. Although other aspects of dating systems are based in Christian origins, AD is a direct reference to Jesus as Lord.
Proponents of the Common Era notation assert that the use of BCE/CE shows sensitivity to those who use the same year numbering system as the one that originated with and is currently used by Christians, but who are not themselves Christian.
[T]he Christian calendar no longer belongs exclusively to Christians. People of all faiths have taken to using it simply as a matter of convenience. There is so much interaction between people of different faiths and cultures - different civilizations, if you like - that some shared way of reckoning time is a necessity. And so the Christian Era has become the Common Era.
Adena K. Berkowitz, when arguing at the Supreme Court, opted to use BCE and CE because "Given the multicultural society that we live in, the traditional Jewish designations - B.C.E. and C.E. - cast a wider net of inclusion".
Some oppose the Common Era notation for explicitly religious reasons. Because the BC/AD notation is based on the traditional year of the conception or birth of Jesus, some Christians are offended by the removal of the reference to him in era notation. The Southern Baptist Convention supports retaining the BC/AD abbreviations.Roman Catholic priest and writer on interfaith issues Raimon Panikkar argued that the BCE/CE usage is the less inclusive option as, in his view, using the designation BCE/CE is a "return... to the most bigoted Christian colonialism" towards non-Christians, who do not necessarily consider the time period following the beginning of the calendar to be a "common era".
There are also secular concerns. In 1993 the English language expert Kenneth G. Wilson speculated in his style guide that "if we do end by casting aside the AD/BC convention, almost certainly some will argue that we ought to cast aside as well the conventional numbering system [that is, the method of numbering years] itself, given its Christian basis." The short lived French Republican Calendar, for example, began with the first year of the French First Republic and rejected the seven-day week (with its connections to the Book of Genesis) for a ten-day week.
The abbreviation BCE, just as with BC, always follows the year number. Unlike AD, which traditionally precedes the year number, CE always follows the year number (if context requires that it be written at all). Thus, the current year is written as 2019 in both notations (or, if further clarity is needed, as 2019 CE, or as AD 2019), and the year that Socrates died is represented as 399 BCE (the same year that is represented by 399 BC in the BC/AD notation). The abbreviations are sometimes written with small capital letters, or with periods (e.g., "B.C.E." or "C.E."). Style guides for academic texts on religion generally prefer BCE/CE to BC/AD.
Similar conventions in other languages
In Germany, Jews in Berlin seem to have already been using "(Before the) Common Era" in the 18th century, while others like Moses Mendelssohn opposed this usage as it would hinder the integration of Jews into German society. The formulation seems to have persisted among German Jews in the 19th century in forms like vor der gewöhnlichen Zeitrechnung (before the common chronology). In 1938 Nazi Germany the use of this convention was also prescribed by the National Socialist Teachers League. However, it was soon discovered that many German Jews had been using the convention ever since the 18th century, and Time magazine found it ironic to see "Aryans following Jewish example nearly 200 years later".
In Spanish, common forms used for "BC" are aC and a. de C. (for "antes de Cristo", "before Christ"), with variations in punctuation and sometimes the use of J.C. (Jesucristo) instead of C. In scholarly writing, AEC is the equivalent of the English "BCE", "antes de la Era Común" or "Before the Common Era".
In Welsh, OC can be expanded to equivalents of both AD (Oed Crist) and CE (Oes Cyffredin); for dates before the Common Era, CC (traditionally, Cyn Crist) is used exclusively, as Cyn yr Oes Cyffredin would abbreviate to a mild obscenity.
In Russian since the Soviet time the notation ?.?. (, lit. before our era) and ?.?. (, lit. of our era) is used almost universally. The notation ?.?./ ?.?. (/ , i.e. before/after the birth of Christ, equivalent to Latin Ante Christum natum) used almost only within the Christian religious tradition.
^Two separate systems that also do not use religious titles, the astronomical system and the ISO 8601 standard, do use a year zero. The year 1 BCE (identical to the year 1 BC) is represented as 0 in the astronomical system, and as 0000 in ISO 8601. Presently, ISO 8601 dating requires use of the Gregorian calendar for all dates, however, whereas astronomical dating and Common Era dating allow use of either the Gregorian or Julian calendars.
^From the Latin word vulgus, the common people -- to contrast it with the regnal year system of dating used by the Government.
^AD is shortened from anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi ("in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ").
^As noted in History of the zero, the use of zero in Western civilization was uncommon before the twelfth century.
^In Latin, Common Era is written as Aera Vulgaris. It also occasionally appears, in Latin declination, as æræ vulgaris, aerae vulgaris, aeram vulgarem, anni vulgaris, vulgaris aerae Christianae, and anni vulgatae nostrae aerae Christianas.
^Unfortunately the Latin word era means 'mistress' (the English word 'era' translates to Latin as aera), so Era Vulgaris translates to English as "Common Mistress".
^The term common era does not appear in this book; the term Christian era [lowercase] does appear a number of times. Nowhere in the book is the abbreviation explained or expanded directly.
^ ab"Anno Domini". Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. 2003. Retrieved . Etymology: Medieval Latin, in the year of the Lord
^ abEarliest-found use of "vulgaris aerae" (Latin for Common Era) (1615). OCLC62188677.Johannes Kepler (1615). Joannis Keppleri Eclogae chronicae: ex epistolis doctissimorum aliquot virorum & suis mutuis, quibus examinantur tempora nobilissima: 1. Herodis Herodiadumque, 2. baptismi & ministerii Christi annorum non plus 2 1/4, 3. passionis, mortis et resurrectionis Dn. N. Iesu Christi, anno aerae nostrae vulgaris 31. non, ut vulgo 33., 4. belli Iudaici, quo funerata fuit cum Ierosolymis & Templo Synagoga Iudaica, sublatumque Vetus Testamentum. Inter alia & commentarius in locum Epiphanii obscurissimum de cyclo veteri Iudaeorum (in Latin). Francofurti:Tampach. anno aerae nostrae vulgaris
^Irvin, Dale T.; Sunquist, Scott (2001). History of the World Christian Movement. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. xi. ISBN0-567-08866-9. Retrieved . The influence of western culture and scholarship upon the rest of the world in turn led to this system of dating becoming the most widely used one across the globe today. Many scholars in historical and religious studies in the West in recent years have sought to lessen the explicitly Christian meaning of this system without abandoning the usefulness of a single, common, global form of dating. For this reason the terms common era and before the common era, abbreviated as CE and BCE, have grown in popularity as designations. The terms are meant, in deference to non-Christians, to soften the explicit theological claims made by the older Latin terminology, while at the same time providing continuity with earlier generations of mostly western Christian historical research.
^Andrew Herrmann (27 May 2006). "BCE date designation called more sensitive". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017. Retrieved . Herrmann observes, "The changes - showing up at museums, in academic circles and in school textbooks - have been touted as more sensitive to people of faiths outside of Christianity." However, Herrmann notes, "The use of BCE and CE have rankled some Christians"
^Kepler, Johannes; Fabricus, David (1617). Third use of "vulgaris aerae" (Latin for Common Era) (1617). sumptibus authoris, excudebat Iohannes Plancus. Retrieved .Johannes Kepler, Jakob Bartsch (1617). Ephemerides novae motuum coelestium, ab anno vulgaris aerae MDCXVII[-XXXVI]... Johannes Plancus. Part 3 has title: Tomi L Ephemeridvm Ioannis Kepleri pars tertia, complexa annos à M.DC.XXIX. in M.DC.XXXVI. In quibus & tabb. Rudolphi jam perfectis, et sociâ operâ clariss. viri dn. Iacobi Bartschii ... Impressa Sagani Silesiorvm, in typographeio Ducali, svmptibvs avthoris, anno M.DC.XXX. * Translation of title (per 1635 English edition): New Ephemerids for the Celestiall Motions, for the Yeeres of the Vulgar Era 1617-1636
^Prideaux, Humphrey (1799). Prideaux use of "Vulgar Era" (1716) (reprint ed.). Retrieved . reckoning it backward from the vulgar era of Christ's incarnationHumphrey Prideaux, D.D. (1716) [from Oxford University Press 1799 (1716 edition not online, 1749 online is Vol 2)]. The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations. 1. Edinburgh. p. 1. This happened in the seventh year after the building of Rome, and in the second year of the eighth Olympiad, which was the seven hundred forty-seventh year before Christ, i. e. before the beginning of the vulgar æra, by which we now compute the years from his incarnation.
^Robert Walker (Rector of Shingham); Newton, Sir Isaac; Falconer, Thomas (1796). "vulgar era of the nativity" (1796). T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies. Retrieved .Rev. Robert Walker; Isaac Newton; Thomas Falconer (1796). Analysis of Researches Into the Origin and Progress of Historical Time, from the Creation to ... London: T. Cadell Jr. and W. Davies. p. 10. Dionysius the Little brought the vulgar era of the nativity too low by four years.
^1584 Latin use of aerae christianae. OCLC123471534.Grynaeus, Johann Jacob; Beumler, Marcus (1584). De Eucharistica controuersia, capita doctrinae theologicae de quibus mandatu, illustrissimi principis ac domini, D. Iohannis Casimiri, Comites Palatini ad Rhenum, Ducis Bauariae, tutoris & administratoris Electoralis Palatinatus, octonis publicis disputationibus (quarum prima est habita 4 Apr. anno aerae christianae 1584, Marco Beumlero respondente) praeses Iohannes Iacobus Grynaeus, orthodoxae fidei rationem interrogantibus placidè reddidit; accessit eiusdem Iohannis Iacobi Grynaeus synopsis orationis, quam de disputationis euentu, congressione nona, quae indicit in 15 Aprilis, publicè habuit (in Latin) (Editio tertia ed.). Heidelbergae: Typis Iacobi Mylij. OCLC123471534. 4 Apr. anno aerae christianae 1584
^1649 use of æræ Christianæ in English book - 1st usage found in English. OCLC18533017.WING, Vincent (1649). Speculum uranicum, anni æræ Christianæ, 1649, or, An almanack and prognosication for the year of our Lord, 1649 being the first from bissextile or leap-year, and from the creation of the world 5598, wherein is contained many useful, pleasant and necessary observations, and predictions ... : calculated (according to art) for the meridian and latitude of the ancient borough town of Stamford in Lincolnshire ... and without sensible errour may serve the 3. kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. London: J.L. for the Company of Stationers. anni æræ Christianæ, 1649
^first appearance of "Christian Era" in English (1652). Retrieved .Sliter, Robert (1652). A celestiall glasse, or, Ephemeris for the year of the Christian era 1652 being the bissextile or leap-year: contayning the lunations, planetary motions, configurations & ecclipses for this present year ... : with many other things very delightfull and necessary for most sorts of men: calculated exactly and composed for ... Rochester. London: Printed for the Company of Stationers.
^Von), Jakob Friedrich Bielfeld (Freiherr; Hooper, William (1770). First-so-far found English usage of "before the common era", with "vulgar era" synonymous with "common era" (1770). Printed by G. Scott, for J. Robson and B. Law. Retrieved .Hooper, William; Bielfeld, Jacob Friedrich (1770). The Elements of Universal Erudition: Containing an Analytical Abridgment of the Sciences, Polite Arts, and Belles Lettres. 2. London: G. Scott, printer, for J Robson, bookseller in New-Bond Street, and B. Law in Ave-Mary Lane. pp. 105, 63. in the year of the world 3692, and 312 years before the vulgar era.... The Spanish era began with the year of the world 3966, and 38 years before the common era (p63)
^MacFarquhar, Colin; Gleig, George (1797). "vulgar era" in 1797 EB. A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar. p. 228 v. 14 pt. 1 P (Peter). Retrieved . St Peter died in the 66th year of the vulgar era MacFarquhar, Colin; Gleig, George (1797). "common era" in 1797 EB. A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar. p. 50 v. 14 pt. 1 P (Paul). Retrieved . This happened in the 33rd year of the common era, fome time after our Saviour's death. George Gleig, ed. (1797). Encyclopædia Britannica: Or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature (Third Edition in 18 volumes). Edinburgh. v. 14 pt. 1 P. Missing or empty |title= (help)
^Encyclopedia, Popular (1874). "common era of the Jews" (1874). Retrieved . the common era of the Jews places the creation in BC 3760A. Whitelaw, ed. (1874). Conversations Lexicon. The Popular Encyclopedia. V. Oxford University Press. p. 207.
^"common era of the Jews" (1858). Wertheim, MacIntosh & Hunt. 1858. Retrieved . Hence the present year, 1858, in the common era of the Jews, is AM 5618-5619, a difference of more than 200 years from our commonly-received chronology.Rev. Bourchier Wrey Savile, MA (1858). The first and second Advent: or, The past and the future with reference to the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. London: Wertheim, Macintosh and Hunt. p. 176.
^Gumpach, Johannes von (1856). "common era of the Mahometans" (1856). Retrieved . Its epoch is the first of March old style. The common era of the Mahometans, as has already been stated, is that of the flight of Mahomet.Johannes von Gumpach (1856). Practical tables for the reduction of Mahometan dates to the Christian calendar. Oxford University. p. 4.
^Jones, William (1801). "common era of the world" (1801). F. and C. Rivington. Retrieved .Jones, William (1801). The Theological, Philosophical and Miscellaneous Works of the Rev. William Jones. London: Rivington.
^Baynes, Thomas Spencer (1833). "common era of the Incarnation" (1833). A. & C. Black. Retrieved .The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature. V (9 ed.). New York: Henry G. Allen and Company. 1833. p. 711.
^Todd, James Henthorn (1864). "common era" "of the Nativity" (1864). Hodges, Smith & co. Retrieved . It should be observed, however, that these years correspond to 492 and 493, a portion of the annals of Ulster being counted from the Incarnation, and being, therefore, one year before the common era of the Nativity of our Lord.James Henthorn Todd (1864). St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, A Memoir of his Life and Mission. Dublin: Hodges, Smith & Co, Publishers to the University. pp. 495, 496, 497.
^"common era of the birth of Christ" (1812). printed by A.J. Valpy for T. Payne. 1812. Retrieved .Heneage Elsley (1812). Annotations on the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles (2nd edition) (2nd ed.). London: A. J. Valpy for T. Payne. xvi.
^Tracey R Rich. "Judaism 101". Retrieved . Jews do not generally use the words "A.D." and "B.C." to refer to the years on the Gregorian calendar. "A.D." means "the year of our L-rd," and we do not believe Jesus is the L-rd. Instead, we use the abbreviations C.E. (Common or Christian Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era).
^"Plymouth, England Tombstone inscriptions". Jewish Communities & Records. Retrieved . Here is buried his honour Judah ben his honour Joseph, a prince and honoured amongst philanthropists, who executed good deeds, died in his house in the City of Bath, Tuesday, and was buried here on Sunday, 19 Sivan in the year 5585. In memory of Lyon Joseph Esq (merchant of Falmouth, Cornwall). who died at Bath June AM 5585/VE 1825. Beloved and respected.[19 Sivan 5585 AM is June 5, 1825. VE is likely an abbreviation for Vulgar Era.]
^See, for example, the Society for Historical Archaeology states in its more recent style guide "Do not use C.E. (common era), B.P. (before present), or B.C.E.; convert these expressions to A.D. and B.C." (In section I 5 the Society explains how to use "years B.P." in connection with radiocarbon ages.) Society for Historical Archaeology (December 2006). "Style Guide"(PDF). Archived(PDF) from the original on 2016-04-19. Retrieved . whereas the American Anthropological Association style guide takes a different approach calling for "C.E." and "B.C.E." American Anthropological Society (2009). "AAA Style Guide"(PDF). p. 3. Retrieved .
^"Submission Guidelines for The Ostracon". The Ostracon - Journal of the Egyptian Studies Society. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. Retrieved . For dates, please use the now-standard "BCE-CE" notation, rather than "BC-AD." Authors with strong religious preferences may use "BC-AD," however.
^The American and English Encyclopedia of Law and Practice. 1910. p. 1116. It has been said of the Latin words anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord [...]
^Michael McDowell; Nathan Robert Brown (2009). World Religions At Your Fingertips. Penguin. p. 38. ISBN978-1-101-01469-1. Marked by the turn of the Common Era, C.E., originally referred to as A.D., an abbreviation of the Latin Anno Domini, meaning "Year of our God/Lord." This was a shortening of Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, meaning "Year of our God/Lord Jesus Christ."
^Whitney, Susan (2 December 2006). "Altering history? Changes have some asking 'Before what?'". The Deseret News. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved . I find this attempt to restructure history offensive," Lori Weintz wrote, in a letter to National Geographic publishers.... The forward to your book says B.C. and A.D. were removed so as to 'not impose the standards of one culture on others.'... It's 2006 this year for anyone on Earth that is participating in day-to-day world commerce and communication. Two thousand six years since what? Most people know, regardless of their belief system, and aren't offended by a historical fact.
^ abWilson, Kenneth G. (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English - A.D., B.C., (A.)C.E., B.C.E. Columbia University Press. ISBN978-0-231-06989-2. Retrieved . A.D. appears either before or after the number of the year... although conservative use has long preferred before only; B.C. always follows the number of the year.... Common era (C.E.) itself needs a good deal of further justification, in view of its clearly Christian numbering. Most conservatives still prefer A.D. and B.C. Best advice: don't use B.C.E., C.E., or A.C.E. to replace B.C. and A.D. without translating the new terms for the very large number of readers who will not understand them. Note too that if we do end by casting aside the A.D./B.C. convention, almost certainly some will argue that we ought to cast aside as well the conventional numbering system itself, given its Christian basis.
^SBL Handbook of StyleSociety of Biblical Literature 1999 "8.1.2 ERAS - The preferred style is B.C.E. and C.E. (with periods). If you use A.D. and B.C., remember that A.D. precedes the date and B.C. follows it. (For the use of these abbreviations in titles, see § 184.108.40.206.)"