C. E. stands for “Current Era.” A. D. stands for Anno Domini, once commonly rendered as “Year of Our Lord.” The A. D. system was devised more than 1,500 years ago by Dionysius Exiguus.
Dionysis was actually working on the arcane theological business of calculating the proper dates to celebrate Easter. A.D. is solidly a Christian system, breaking history into B. C., Before Christ, and A. D., after Christ’s birth, with the year 1 A. D., the supposed year of Christ’s birth being the pivotal year.
Any date CE refers to exactly the same year as AD. 1453 CE is the same year as 1453 AD. Plato’s birth year is 428 BCE, Before Current Era, and also 428 BC, Before Christ. They mean the same year.
The BCE/ BC system is replacing the BC/AD system. Some critics see this as discrimination against Christians and as more evidence of the pervasiveness of politically correct points of view. Others argue that the B.C./A.D. calendar has become worldwide and that the majority of the world’s history is not rooted in Christian history.
While the dispute is not going to end any time soon, the Current Era/ Before Current Era system is winning out with professional historians and most recent history textbooks.
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