BC, AD, and BCE, CE

I am just three days short of finishing the reading of the Old Testament.  Since I usually read it in chronological order as much as possible, I usually end with Nehemiah.

Reading the Bible chronologically helps the reader to capture the time line of history in a sensible, orderly way. Knowing that now that the people of Judah have been allowed back into their own land, I pulled down my stack of maps and charts to review the period of history that is considered “intertesamental.”  From the time the Jews returned to Jerusalem to the birth of Christ is a period of approximately 400 years.  These are silent years mostly although not in entirety. If, when you read the Bible one pays attention to writers such as Daniel, some of that history can be anticipated.  That statue in Daniel chapter 2 gives insight into Biblical and world history that few scholars of history in our public institutions rarely point out.

The chart that I use is produced by Jewish scholars who start their timeline with Abraham and proceed to 1967.  I noticed that they chose to use CE rather than BC or AD.  CE is the abbreviation for common era.  I understand that the Jewish population may well avoid using BC (before Christ) because most of them are still looking for the Messiah, or the Christ.  It is certainly handy for them to adopt the common era abbreviation for their purposes.

Here’s the touchpoint:  the dating from BCE and CE takes place on their chart at the approximate time of the Birth of Christ.  The destruction of the Temple is accurately marked at 70 CE or as I would call it, AD.  Without acknowledging the existence of Christ and His central part of all world history—it is a glaring acknowledgement nonetheless.

See, history is actually His Story and folks, God is still writing history today.  Every time the date, hour, and minute is marked on a receipt, legal document, or postmark, we are acknowledging Jesus, my Good Shepherd.

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4 Comments

  1. I love this post, Karyl. I, too, am reading the Bible chronologically, and taking my time with it. So many little rabbit trails to explore. And the whole CE, BCE thing strikes me as an obvious way to avoid using the Name of Jesus Christ, upon Whom all history hinges. Silly people, trying to obfuscate God Himself.

    • Back when I first moved to Indiana ten years ago now, I decided to hang out a tutoring shingle. It was then that I noticed textbooks using CE, BCE and I had to find out what it even meant. I never referred to it as common era to my students but rather “Before Christ” or After Christ. It never bothered them and I even wondered if their teaches didn’t refer to it the same as I did. I haven’t tutored now for three years and do miss it, but my eyes just can’t read regular print any longer.

      • I wondered if you were still tutoring. You’ve not said anything about it lately. Sorry you had to give that up, because I know you enjoyed it and I’m sure you were very good at it.

      • It is what it is. Life happens. 🙂

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