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Dating systems: BC and AD, or BCE and CE?
#16
Thanks for all the replies. I also checked the Oxford Style Manual, which rather neutrally says BCE and CE should be used if the writer wishes "to avoid specifying dates in Christian terms."

Out of all the reference materials I have, it looks like only the Guardian guide makes a firm editorial decision.

Regarding AUC, the OSM mentions that it is very common in German works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I've noticed that myself, like in Mommsen. When I read him I had to use a little cheat sheet I referred to when necessary, because I was used to thinking in the BC / AD designations.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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#17
I have no problem with the CE and BCE notation, it is as Jona said just a more polite version of the old BC/AD show. The more philosophical minded though could object that the term Common Era makes christianity really universal. More than a leftist post modernist multilateral relativistic conspiracy, I would expect here a secret christian universalistic tendency at work ;-)
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#18
Thee are more important issues in life than petty thongs like that!
We we need to no looking at them, instead of wasting time and money
Constantly Changing the terms we use!
I can happily accept the chinese calendar as used by the Chinese!
Love the 'year of theTiger' etc! :grin:
But ad/ bc have been around long enough, to keep destiny up ancient differences
Only prevent the focus on what really matters!
Let's keep it simple shall we!
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#19
I don't have too much to say on this from any religious or other point of view, other than to say that judging from the vote count my choice of BC/AD is the more favoured.
Brian Stobbs
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#20
Quote:The more philosophical minded though could object that the term Common Era makes christianity really universal.

This is pretty much the reason I voted AD/BC. Calling something "Common Era" while still basing year 1 on the birth of Christ (however wrongly dated!) doesn't seem to me to be changing much. I emphatically do not want to accuse people who use it of equating "Christian" with "Common/Universal", nor do I want to plead a case for imposing political correctness everywhere. To me, it simply seems to be a case of "a rose by any other name...".

Also, to carry the argument to its probably absurd extreme: is forcing everyone to use the Julian year over the Chinese, Muslim, Jewish years (all of which are shorter as far as I know), or even the pre-Julian Roman year (which tends towards confusing variety of length) for Republican dates not "politically incorrect", "a sign of Western imperialism", or whatever catchphrase is currently popular anyway? So even a randomly chosen starting date would be "Western" as long as Julian years are used. Using a different one would in turn probably offend the "westerners".

I'm not sure whether we can find a neutral answer to this. So overall, it is my personal preference to stay with tradition, if not with any feeling for or against a particular faith.
M. Caecilius M.f. Maxentius - Max C.

Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur
- Q. Ennius, Annales, Frag. XXXI, 493

Secretary of the Ricciacus Frënn (http://www.ricciacus.lu/)
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#21
Quote:is forcing everyone to use the Julian year over the Chinese, Muslim, Jewish years -- not "politically incorrect"
er I didnt think we forced chinese, Muslim, Jews to use AD/BC ?
** Vincula/Lucy **
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#22
Quote:
M. Caecilius post=298031 Wrote:is forcing everyone to use the Julian year over the Chinese, Muslim, Jewish years -- not "politically incorrect"
er I didnt think we forced chinese, Muslim, Jews to use AD/BC ?

No I don't think we did.
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#23
Quote:If one has to steer clear of religious trouble by all means, I suggest: ISO 8601/EN 28601 Wink

Wow! We invented the Stardate!
Paul Elliott

Legions in Crisis
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/17815...d_i=468294

Charting the Third Century military crisis - with a focus on the change in weapons and tactics.
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#24
Quote:The more philosophical minded though could object that the term Common Era makes christianity really universal.
Interesting thought! Fortunately, my Zoroastrian, Jewish and Muslim conversation partners have never brought this up.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#25
Quote:
M. Caecilius post=298031 Wrote:is forcing everyone to use the Julian year over the Chinese, Muslim, Jewish years -- not "politically incorrect"
er I didnt think we forced chinese, Muslim, Jews to use AD/BC ?

The Julian Year does not mean AD/BC. It means a year of 365.25 Earth days. More accurate would be to speak of the Gregorian calendar, though.

And in a way "we" (whoever that is) force people to use both the Julian Year and AD/BC. Passively, if they want to keep up with western research. Actively, if they want to participate in it. Especially if you do not consider CE/BCE less religiously laden as AD/BC. Even those books about the crusades written from the Muslim point of view which I've read, such as that by Amin Maalouf, uses the western calender, and not Hijra. And last I heard, the Chinese do use our calendar next to their own one, so as not to get out of tune with the international community.

Of course, you can always argue that nobody is forcing anyone to read western books, and that nobody is personally and consciously forcing others to do this. But that's not really my point, anyway. As I said, my preference is to the traditional date, and not "political correctness" in this matter.

I merely wished to point out that even if we abandoned the reference to Christ as the Lord as a dating system, the other parts of the system - the length of the Julian year of 365.25 Earth days, its beginning in January, and so forth - are just as culturally charged, having developed out of historical contexts proper to only one part of the world.

And for clarity's sake, I'll add that I am in no way proposing to drop the Julian year out of political correctness! Much to the contrary, I wanted to show to what level of absurdity this could be driven, if real neutrality were the goal.
M. Caecilius M.f. Maxentius - Max C.

Qui vincit non est victor nisi victus fatetur
- Q. Ennius, Annales, Frag. XXXI, 493

Secretary of the Ricciacus Frënn (http://www.ricciacus.lu/)
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#26
re: eperlanus and Jona

I figure the offensive part is not so much the C for Christ, after all Christ is a Prophet in Islam and that is not exactly shabby. The D for Dominus as in God is more of a problem. BCE/CE avoid it nicely.

However with special regard to Jona I must say I doubt it is worth debating with people so narrow-minded and intolerant that they are seriously offended by a dating system, or rather the name of a dating system. (If I understood that behaviour correctly).


@ Mithras

... cool, is not it?
------------
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#27
I think only western Euro/Americans even give a s**t about this. We're so wrapped up in collective historical guilt that we think other peoples must be equally horrified at our past. In reality, they probably find the BC/AD system a convenient way to date things internationally. Our insistence that our dating system (among many other practices) should be altered to show our benevolence toward other cultures is probably just another instance of our conviction that we are the greatest, most importnt thing that ever happened to anybody, anywhere in the world.
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#28
@ Mithras' (first post)

Completely agreed. It ruins my reading experience.


@ Peteris Racinskis

Other dating systems like AUC don't bother me but pagan Rome used an eight week cycle. The Jews created the week (or at least they're the reason we have it).

~Theo
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#29
Quote:However with special regard to Jona I must say I doubt it is worth debating with people so narrow-minded and intolerant that they are seriously offended by a dating system, or rather the name of a dating system.
I think there is always a need for debate. Take, for example, the battle of Kerbala, which is (for Shi'ite Muslims) a pivotal event in history. The opponents of the good leader Huseyn are portrayed as completely evil. However, if you read the sources, you can see that they were consistently trying to save their opponents and reduce bloodshed to a minimum.

Here is room for debate. I once discussed this with people in Iran, one of them a cleric of some rank, who found it useful to listen to my theory, which must have been unusual to them, and probably even offensive. I think that doing my best to create common ground - i.c., by using BCE/CE dates - created the possibility to exchange ideas.


A similar argument, again from Iran, can be found in Mary Boyce's books on Zoroastrianism. She avoided BC/AD dates, and created new ways to discuss Zoroastrians, which were generally well-accepted by the adherents of the ancient faith.

The point is not that one system is better than another; it's that showing respect for sensitivities creates room for dialogue.

Quote:I think only western Euro/Americans even give a s**t about this. We're so wrapped up in collective historical guilt that we think other peoples must be equally horrified at our past.
I generally sympathize with this; the western world is sometimes a bit too harsh about its own past. We're not the Big Evil People we sometimes admit to.

On the other hand, it's self-criticism and the awareness that our own prejudices are not shared by others, that gives western civilization one of its competetive advantages. We're open to other ideas. That's practical if you want to debate them.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#30
I voted BC / AD.

I'm not remotely religious but it has always been a useful historical reference point.

I'm quite happy to see BCE / CE applied as well.

We live in the western world and this makes sense to us. Of course I recognise that other cultures (Islam/China/Judaism etc.) see the world entirely differently and that is fine.

But I'm a simple man and happy with the notion that the events of say (first) Thermopylai occured 480 years before 'somebody' appeared, who none of the people concerned at that particular earlier event could possibly have known, predicted or cared about.
[size=75:2kpklzm3]Ghostmojo / Howard Johnston[/size]

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[size=75:2kpklzm3]Xerxes - "What did the guy in the pass say?" ... Scout - "Μολὼν λαβέ my Lord - and he meant it!!!"[/size]
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