BC vs BCE
There is a subtle difference between the two dating systems, BC and BCE. BC is written after the year number and is based on the Julian or Gregorian calendars. Practically, 7 BC and 7 BCE both refer to the same time period, with BCE also placed after the year number. However, there are some differences between the two terms, which will be discussed in this article.
What does BC mean?
BC is a way of marking time and was coined by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD. The dating system BC stands for ‘Before Christ.’ This notation was followed for a long time until it was challenged due to the belief that Christ was born around 7 BC, making the usage of AD purposeless. If both BC and AD start with the year 1, there can be no year ‘zero’ in any of the dating systems, leading to the formation of a new dating system called BCE.
What does BCE mean?
BCE is also a way of marking time, equivalent to BC, and can be expanded as ‘Before Common Era.’ The BCE notation has not removed the year ‘zero’ from it, and the years after Christ’s birth were referred to by the notation CE, which stands for ‘Common Era.’ It is believed that both BCE and CE were developed for the use of non-Christians or for people who do not know who Christ is. Mostly academic writers, as well as authors and writers who do not want a religious affiliation to their writing, use BCE, as they believe it is more respectful to non-Christians.
- BC can be expanded as Before Christ, while BCE can be expanded as Before Common Era.
- BC is for Christians, as it references the birth of Christ, while BCE is for non-Christians, as it does not have any religious references.
- Some argue that using BCE is more respectful to non-Christians, while others say it is not useful because most of the western calendar is influenced by various religions.