BC and AD

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Jakigi, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Since church and state have been merged many times, I really don't buy the supposed AD (Anno Domini), BC (Before Christ) reference points. I believe history in general was hijacked by the church, and adjusted accordingly.

    I don't mean to insult any Christians, I'm just questioning something that doesn't fit my beliefs; specifically how/when/why these labels came into play.

    Anyone have any good information or perspective?
  2. I believe they use B.C.E. now - before common era

    And didn't Pope Gregory change the years and calendar?
  3. Yeah they're trying to use C.E. and B.C.E. now. People don't really care to much about Ad and BC though because people just see it more as measurements than something religious.
  4. The biggest reason this change was made was not a hugely theological one.

    it made keeping history, records, and dates easy and everyone in the known world was Christians, and could agree on the birth of Jesus was a date to number everything from.

    If you consult a roman history text you find that everybody had a different numbering system, usually numbering things from the start of the reign of the current emperor. But what about the times when there was no emperor? or multiple emperors fighting it out? And after the western empire fell apart and there were smaller kingdoms forming, what then? Now you've got a bunch of rulers and they all want to number everything from themselves. At least when there was a Roman emperor people were picking the same event to date things from.

    It makes things like letter sending, record keeping, communication, history writing, law-making, etc impossible. Add to that different people in different places making changes to the calendars and you get chaos.

    The Venerable Bede (an important early historian in England) used it extensively, and it really spread after that. Eventually Charlemagne adopted it formally, and from there the smaller kingdoms did as well.

    So, in conclusion, don't ascribe to theological what can be more easily explained by practical convenience.
  5. At this point the Gregorian calendar has traction worldwide. it's probably a little late to change it.

    I like to look at it as a historical curiosity. Like how we still use the same sexagesimal system the Sumerians used to measure certain units of time (hours and minutes) and angle (360 degrees = 60 * 6 degrees). No good reason for holding onto it, no really good reason to change. The conventional date of birth of an influential Jewish faith-healer seems like as good a date as any to me to mark the year 0 on our calendars.

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