BBC on BCE and CE

I find it hard to get as excited as some about the BBC’s decision to keep the numbers but adjust the lettering. L’Osservatore Romano, as quoted on CNS yesterday:

To deny the historically revolutionary importance of the coming of Christ on earth, which is also accepted by those who do not recognize him as the son of God, is an act of enormous foolishness.

Or have the Anno Domini apologists been punked? BBC’s Aaqil Ahmed:

Whilst attending the recording last Sunday some people asked me about a story that had made the headlines that day concerning the use of date systems BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). The story, suggesting we had dropped AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ), was quite simply wrong. We have issued no editorial guidelines or instructions to suggest that anyone in the BBC should change the terms they use. The BBC, like most people, use BC and AD as standard terminology.

But we recognise that it is possible to use different terminology, and that some people do: that is what is reflected on our Religion website. Even though we told the newspaper this, they ran the story anyway.

Just for the record, for our religion and ethics programming on BBC television and radio we generally use AD and BC. It is a shame that people seeking to make mischief should cast a shadow over the wonderful celebration of our Christian religious heritage that is Songs of Praise.

You would think that the truth would settle things. But probably not. Not only does this story have legs, but more importantly, it has bile.

Which brings me to a more serious musing for the day. Do you think anything will ever supplant AD/CE in terms of numbering our years? Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series gives two dating systems, that of the Galactic Empire and later in the stories, that of the Foundation era. But those stories take place about fifty millennia into the author’s future. What sort of event, other than the obliteration of human civilization, would ever replace something as entrenched as dating time from the young childhood of the Lord?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to BBC on BCE and CE

  1. John Drake says:

    How about December 8, 1965, the close of the Second Vatican Council? Lots of folks seem to think everything changed then!

  2. If a non-Christian empire takes over the world (which is certainly possible and maybe even probable), it wouldn’t surprise me that they would impose their calendaring system on the world.

    • Mike K says:

      For a time, it did happen. Ever hear of the 10-day week imposed during the French Revolution (with some equally odd arrangement of months)?

  3. Todd says:

    Or possibly, it’s already happened. But discerning conquerors know that things like the imposition of a calendar would only call attention to their supremacy. We have smart overlords: they prioritize their dominance rather than flaunt it.

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