Ante Christum Natum
Ante Christum Natum (Latin for Before Christ (was) Born), usually abbreviated to A.C.N., a.C.n., a.Ch.n. or ACN, denotes the years before the birth of Jesus Christ. It is the modern Latin equivalent to the English term "BC" ("Before Christ"). The phrase Ante Christum Natum is also seen as the shorter Ante Christum (Latin for "Before Christ"), again usually abbreviated to A.C. or AC. A related term, p.Ch.n or post Christum natum complements a.Ch.n and is equivalent to "AD".
These terms are chiefly found in modern Latin texts. English speakers are unlikely to recognize them. Neither the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), the American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed.), nor P. Kenneth Seidelmann's Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (1992, University Science Books) mention AC, ACN, or Ante Christum Natum.
These terms were not used in medieval and Renaissance Latin texts. Bede the Venerable, who was the first writer to identify a year as before Christ, used the Latin ante incarnationis dominicae tempus (before the time of the Incarnation of the Lord) in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (I.2) in 731. Most comparable early Latin terms referred to Christ's Incarnation or conception, not his birth nine months later.
While there is no definitive dating, the general consensus assumes the year of the birth of Jesus to be around 6–4 Before Christ (was) Born. Some scholars widen the range to 7–2 BC.
- British Library manuscripts catalogue
- General Chronology in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
- Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition
- Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1983)
- Example from LogosLibrary.eu.
- Doggett 1992, p579: "Although scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before AD 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating".
- Dunn, James DG (2003). Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 324.
- Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pp. 113–129
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pp. 121–124
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 p. 114
- Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1-56338-347-0 pp. 302–303
- Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, 54, 56
- Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Scribner's, 1977, p. 71.
- Ben Witherington III, "Primary Sources," Christian History 17 (1998) No. 3:12–20.