Talk:Anno Domini/Archive 2

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The objection by non-Christians to the use of AD is not that it refers to an date that used to be thought to be the date of Jesus' birth. It is that it means 'In the Year of Our Lord' and as such does not apply to non-Christians. It is not the year of Our lord, it is the year of Your lord. Its an expression of Christian belief, and is simply not right for a non-believer to use it. I personally have much less problems with BC, and I think others do, but since the thing comes as a parcel the only non-biased way to do it is to use CE and BCE. Which are, by the way, very common here in Europe. The Rev of Bru 18:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Technically, the initials 'BC' are also acknowledging something special. The term Christ is derived from the Greek translation of the Hebrew "Messiah". To say "BC" is to acknowledge that the Messiah promised in the Torah and Prophets has already come. To my knowledge, only Christians would acknowledge that, although the Qu'ran also gives Jesus (Isa) the title "Al Masih". -- 03:25, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • The word "month" is from pagan religions for moon. Should we not drop the word "month" because it is bigoted? This seems to be the logic of the people that want to drop AD and BC.
  • Half the month and all the days of the week too. But seriously, I understand the desire for the change. AD basically goes against one of the fundamental beliefs of Judaissm, Moon-day isn't much of a threat. Despite understanding the issue, and agree that a change is needed for something more universal for the whole of the world's cultures and religions I don't see the point since it's still based off the Christian designation of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians shouldn't have an issue with the change since the date still represents His birth, but they will. :sigh: if it were up to me I'd change to the whole system to Unix_epoch to accomodate for all these internetworked computers spanning the globe. I am only kidding, though it is the only time reference that affects the world as a whole, that I know of.

I moved the content of the A.D. page to Anno Domini tonight because I was having trouble getting redirects to work to pages of initials, like A.D. See the history of the A.D. page to follow the development of content before Anno Domini was created. <>< tbc, 11Aug01

Question about "erae": is this the proper plural of "era". Isn't the Latin word "aera" already a plural (the plural of aes)? If so, "erae" can't be right. -- SJK

dunno. Don't have a Latin dictionary here, and I don't know the nominative.

Dictionary confirms era to be derived from the plural of aes, aeris. The difference in number and the fact that we dropped the a show that this is an English rather than a Latin word, so the plural is the normal eras.

Can some actual historian please put all us dilettantes to shame here on questions of the meaning of and motivations behind "B.C.E.," etc.? --LMS

Should Common Era be merged with this article? <>< tbc

I would say so, and I would rename the article Common Era. Anno Domini is not a noun or an adjective. "Common Era" is. -- SJK

I would strongly say no. They are two different terminologies used often by different people for the same numbering system. Using either CE or AD would be seen as POV siding with one side of the debate over the other. Similarly creating redirects would be seen as biased because whichever got the main page would be seen as the the winner, the redirect the relegated loser. The only NPOV way of doing this is to allow separate articles to exist on a related but different topic.

Re NPOV, by the way, the article did contain rather a lot of POV bits.

  • It may be technically correct to put the number after AD but to say it is correct is factually wrong. The technical correctness comes from the latin, a language we don't speak any more. In english it is used by 99 times out of 100 in the form {number} AD. Language evolves and AD {number} is no longer widely used, no more than kyne remains the correct old plural for cow! {number} AD has through sheer usage evolved into an unambiguously correct term. When we all resort to using latin as our language of discourse we can start insisting on people following the latin terminology literally again.
  • It is wrong to say that BCE and CE are the terms used in academia. They are the terms used by some academics, just as BC and AD are also used by some. Some accept both, some accept only one. To state categorically that either is the language of academics when it is still an issue of bitter debate in some academic circles is POV.
  • The statement that some christians are unhappy with replacing BC/AD by BCE/CE because it will make them less popular is factually wrong. Their argument is that it would make them less visible, marginalising religion. Taken together with a range of issues that would marginalise religion, they suspect it may have an impact on popularity longterm on christianity. But using BCE/CE on its own is not a matter of popularity but visibility. FearÉIREANN 06:12 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It would be silly to have two separate pages for the same thing as CE/AD are just different names for exactly the same thing. Also if someone is going to be unhappy with a dating system centred around the birth of Christ, I dont't see how just changing the name is going to make this ok.

Can somebody expand on the era of the Italian fascists? Was it intended to substitute te Gregorian calendar? -- Error 04:07 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I added a bit about that...I don't know if it was meant to eventually replace the Gregorian Calendar, but they did use both kinds of years. Adam Bishop 04:17 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Less exciting than what I understood. Early Francoist Spain added the "Year I of the Victory" (after 1939). Should this be mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if nazi Germany did something similar. -- Error
I don't think the Nazis did anything like that...maybe some of the more mystical members of the party did, since a lot of them wanted to go back to an idealized prehistoric Germany. Hitler didn't believe in that stuff though. There were terms like "thousand year Reich" but that just referred to the previous two reichs. Since Hitler set up the Third, I don't think he was trying to rewrite the calendar. I can't think of any instance where any Nazis ever used anything but the normal date, and I know Hitler talked about the future with normal dates, like "by 1950 we will do such and such", etc. But I could be wrong :) I also don't know anything about the Franco's Spain, so I don't know what they did with the calendar. Adam Bishop 03:43 17 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Looking around, official war reports from Franco bore this addition to the date: n Año Triunfal counting from 1936. I am not sure if "Año de la Victoria" appeared only in 1939 after April 1st. -- Error 04:35 17 Jul 2003 (UTC)

About the AD 2003/2003 AD, isn't the discussion futile? Properly the year should be in Roman numerals? Besides, isn't Latin word order flexible enough to accomodate such moves? And what have the Romans done for us? -- Error 01:42 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Besides, the sewers, the roads, the aqueducts? :) Anyway, if you want to make it a proper Latin year, it's AD MMDCCLVI, isn't it? (2756?) Adam Bishop 03:36 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The Carolingian use of A.D. may well have had twin ideological reasons of breaking away from using the Byzantine era and defusing certain strains of apocalyptic thought.

Is this a reference to the year 1000 and millenarism? How does using a system that uses big numbers that may be symbolic defuse apocalypticism (!) ? Or are you talking about number 666 plus Diocletian era? -- Error 00:37 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The Byzantines didn't use AD years, they started with the creation of the world. I forget exactly what year they considered it to be in 1000, but it was somewhere between 6000 and 7000. Adam Bishop 00:51, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The Byzantines counted in Anno Mundi. The creation of the world according to their chronology was placed on September 1, 5509 BC. The year 1000 AD was equivalent to their year 6509 AM under the reign of Basil II User:Dimadick

Ugh. I have several criticisms of this article as it currently stands:

  • Pre-Christian dating schemes in the West. In Europe & the related parts of North Africa & the Near East, years were identified most frequently by the name of an official, such as an archon or consul. (Both the Pliny the Elder and Livy identify their years by naming the consuls in office.) Thucydides dates the beginning of the Peloponnesian War in a relative sense, counting the number of years from several events, as well as providing the year of various priesthoods (Book II, ch.6). The Greeks later used a scheme of dating from the First Olympiad, but they counted the number of games celebrated, which occured every year.
There was also the Seleucid Era, which dated events from the death of Alexander the Great, & was in use as late as the 8th century; & the Spanish Era, which dated events from 38 BC, & was used as late as Isidore of Seville in the 7th century. Dating by AUC was actually quite rare, since even the Romans were uncertain about the actual year their city was founded in.
  • Early Christian Methods of Dating. It took several generations for the Christian community to settle on the use of Anno Domini. One early practice was to date from the end of the persecution of Diocletian. Another was to date Anno Passionis, from the date of the Death of Christ, not his birth -- which is a far more important event to the Christian Religion. ISTR that this event was traditionally dated to the consulate of the Gemini (i.e., L. Rubellius Geminus & C. Fufius Geminus in AD 29), but I have been unable to find my reference for that fact; this event has been dated varyingly from AD 28 to AD 32. (I remember the character in de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall remarking that if the protagonist wanted to know what the exact year was from Christ's birth, he should ask a priest.)
Also at this time, dating by indiction was common, especially in official documents. I'm not sure how late this method was used, only that it was probably discontinued by AD 1000.
The article is correct about the Byzantines dating Anno Mundi. However the exact year A.M. varied from place to place due to disagreements over just how it should be calculated. And regnal years were frequently given as an aid to further identify a date.
Further, I believe that Bede was known not for his use of Anno Domini, but for inventing the use of "Before Christ" for dates.
  • The section Other Eras in Common Use I'm puzzled why this is here. Isn't the discussion under Era enough? We lack similar sections under the articles linked to. (Although a mention/discussion of the Common Era is necessary. -- llywrch 16:48, 3 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I encourage you to work on the article itself, at least for those issues you are quite sure that you are improving. --Zero 22:14, 3 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Removed the last paragraph since it didn't make much sense. The Gregorian calendar started in 1582, so dating something in the year of the Gregorian calendar wouldn't start the measure in 1 A.D.

--User:Roadrunner 8 Jan 2004

From the text:

These abbreviations are usually placed after the year number. In strict literal latin, the number should follow AD, but in practice, the number has generally come to be placed in front of the letters, e.g. "1 A.D." (there being no year 0), etc.

I'm not a fan of proscriptive over descriptive usage, but I have to say the only places I have encountered the abbreviation "AD" after the number are (1) on Wikipedia, & (2) in clearly illiterate context. Would someone like to demonstrate to me that contemporary English has changed about this point when I wasn't looking, or should I consider that someone is trying to slip in a justification to excuse her/his persistent mistakes? If it's the latter, I'll happily delete these sentences & fight to the death to keep it from our pendantic shores. -- llywrch 02:53, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I see AD after the number all the time...and by "all the time" I mean, generally so often that I can't think of specific example...but I will look for one. (Obviously it's wrong, but for some people AD and BC don't really mean anything anymore, so it doesn't really matter, I don't think.) Adam Bishop 06:36, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The use of CE and BCE is much more prevalent in North America than in the rest of the world. This can be seen in website usage of these terms. In Europe the terms are not at all common. Also, the statement 'This usage is preferred in much academic writing,...' would perhaps be more accurate as 'This usage is preferred in some academic writing,...'

Does anyone object to my editing the text to take account of these points? User:Arcturus 19th June 2004.

No comments received by 27th June so I've made the changes indicated above. User:Arcturus 27th June 2004.

Should some reference be made to the fact that many Americans (wrongly) believe AD to stand for After Death (of Christ)? Chazzoz 15:39, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but the image here "a monk, in a scriptorium" is a bit silly. It should either be Dionysius Exiguus (or at leas a scythian monk) or then an early calendar or something. As it is now, it's just pointless dab 15:50, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

As for a featured article, it has a pretty grave error.

The Anno Domini era is the only system in everyday use in the Western hemisphere, and the main system for commercial and scientific use in the rest of the world. Secularists, both Christian and non-Christian, however, object to a system based upon an event in the Christian faith; for this reason, the same epoch is also referred to as the Common Era, abbreviated CE.

In most languages the only system used is the "Common Era" system. English is an exception, not a rule. Taw 19:04, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This is a very interesting and well done article. I'm new to this, so I don't feel qualified to make any changes myself, but I have a couple minor comments.
- In regard to Charlemagne moving to the A.D. system for political reasons, I thought you were going to say something about the fact that he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day of A.D. 800, a nice round number. He may have even been trying to foster some millenarian ideas that would culminate in himself, but I don't know much about that.
- The B.C./A.D. system does not imply that Jesus was born in 1 B.C., as is stated several times in this article. 1 B.C. is "the first year before Christ," while A.D. 1 is "the first year of our Lord." Thus, the system implies that Christ was born in A.D. 1. -MatthewT, 6 Sep 2004

Regarding BC/AD, note that our modern count of years is simply the extension of the year numbers assigned to known events by previous authors. To determine when Christ was born in this system we must consult the originator of the system, Dionysius Exiguus. Although he does use the term "Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi" (in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ) at the head of his table, he prefers the term "annus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi" (the year since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ) in his discussion, making it clear that his epoch was Christ's Incarnation (or conception), not his birth. Furthermore, he only uses the term relative to his table of Easter dates beginning AD 532, thus if he had referred to AD 1 he would have meant the (proleptic) Easter one year after Christ's Incarnation. Combining this with the standard instituted by Bede for historians that 1 BC precedes AD 1 means that Dionysius placed Christ's Incarnation on the date we now call March 25, 1 BC. This implies that Christ was born nine months later on December 25, 1 BC according to Dionysius and in agreement with the article. Christ's actual Incarnation or birth is an entirely separate question. For Dionysius' table and discussion in both Latin and English see Cyclus Decemnovennalis Dionysii or Nineteen Year Cycle of Dionysius. — Joe Kress 23:18, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

I object to the following sentence in the introduction:

The Christian Era is the only system in everyday use in the Western World, and the main system for commercial and scientific use in the rest of the world.

The Unix epoch is assumed to have begun January 1, 1970T00:00:00Z, and is the dominant time stamp system on most computers. It is correlated to the Gregorian Calendar, but it is also correlated to dozens of other calendar systems transculturally. For commercial and scientific use, Unix time is both more common (in sheer number of transactions using it) and more universal. It is also misleading, as the grocer in my neighborhood (Vancouver, BC) hangs a chinese calendar, various religious organizations follow their specific calendars, and the calendar most popular in some sections of town is the Malaysian official which covers the Islamic, Budhist, and a half-dozen other ethnic/religious dating systems. There is no monolithic "Western World". Furthermore, almost no one in western culture dates an object, a check or a memo, "AD"; there is no common use of the specificity of the term.

I disagree. The Unix Epoch is defined as 1/1/1970, setting its place in 1970 AD. Your grocer in Vancover puts '2005' on his checks, which is the very definition of 'everyday use'. The very fact that he is using 2005 -- which can only mean 2005 AD -- is sufficient to demonstrate use. You would undoubtably recognize a difference between 'Canadian' and 'American' despite the fact that many (if not most) people consider the former to belong to the latter. Likewise 'Western World' exists whether you recognize such a thing or not. It is an objective distinction, not dependent upon your opinions.

Popularity of abbreviations

  1. In the United States, how popular as of 2004 are B.C.E. and C.E. compared to B.C. and A.D.
  2. How about in the United Kingdom?? 14:55, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Virtually 0% use of BCE or CE in the UK.


I'm currently reading treaties and the like from Post world war one. I note that 'CE' is prominently used in documents to differentiate between the years for documents which cover both the Islamic (or other) and our Calenders'.

just worth noting.


I just did a brief survey of my history textbooks and they all have one of the following:

A.D. xxxx

xxxx C.E.

Now, of course, we expect textbooks to be a bit more rigid about putting the A.D. before the date, and of course a random sampling of my textbooks is hardly conclusive, but why is it that this article does not at any point refer to the abbreviations as "A.D., B.C., C.E., B.C.E." instead of "AD, BC, CE, BCE"? If we decide that either format is acceptable (and I would like to be shown evidence that version without periods is acceptable in an academic or scholarly context—I'll take whoever's word for it that such evidence exists, but I would like to be shown it nonetheless), we should at least include a note in the article to that effect. See [1], but also [2].

I don't mind picking a standard for use on Wikipedia, but we should explain what the standard is and why it was chosen - and we should also make it clear that this is a Wikipedia standard and does not necessarily reflect usage elsewhere. --[[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 14:34, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) makes it clear that periods must not be used, neither in the title of a page, nor in links to that page. Even when not linked they are not used by inference. However, no justification for that style is given, nor did anyone discuss the issue in the reams of discussion on its talk page that I can find (nine archived pages!). You should ask there to determine the reason, if any. In contrast, see calendar era for a page that only uses periods. Thus the original author of the page can influence the style of that page (until a copy editor gets around to making the page conform). Personally, I prefer no punctuation because it serves no useful purpose. Nevertheless, scholarly papers must obey the style manual of the journal within which they are published, which most of the time requires A.D., B.C. Yet it seems pedantic or archaic to insist on it. Not using periods in era abbreviations is becoming more common. The SI metric system may have some influence here—periods are forbidden in all SI units because they are regarded as symbols, not abbreviations. — Joe Kress 20:01, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll bring it up over there. (I don't want to insist that one version or the other is correct. I would just prefer to have this article acknowledge the existence of another, probably equally valid version.)--[[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 22:00, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Split off Common Era

I would request that the article be split into two separate entries, Anno Domini and Common Era, as discussed above. I don't want to get overly humourless and ubersecular, but they are separate topics and the redirect does indeed give an impression of bias. --Suitov 15:02, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, maybe that's what should be done, but most references to CE/BCE should then be taken out of this article. Perhaps just a single mention of the controversy should remain, with a link to the new CE/BCE article. I hate CE and BCE so I would be happy to have mention of them expunged from this article. I see this point has been debated earlier in this Talk. If someone would care to write a new article on CE/BCE I'll amend this one to take account of it. Arcturus 18:22, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I would strongly agree that CE and BCE should be split off into a separate article that also looks at why CE/BCE exist separately from AD/BC. When I first learned the CE/BCE usage (in a university history class) it was like a revelation for me. It's always irked me that the calendar was so strongly tied to Christianity. I realize this is POV of course. Sbwoodside 07:55, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Not that C.E./B.C.E. is really any less strongly tied to Christianity, but you're right that it probably doesn't belong in this article except perhaps as one brief mention. [[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 12:30, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'll file the new article under Common Era prime and then someone who knows more about wikipedia than I do, can rename it to Common Era and fix the redirect or whatever it is. Sbwoodside 02:39, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

OK, I have done the split off. All that remains is to move "Common Era prime" to where is should be, in Common Era (currently that just redirects to here, and I can't change it).

  • I wrote the Common Era article from scratch
  • then I moved the content on the subject of CE from here to there (adding to what I wrote myself)
  • then I removed the CE stuff from this article. It was concentrated in the last section, so that was easy.
  • Also, I fixed the introduction to this article where it referred to CE. The basis was wrong, so I generalized and and just refer people to Common Era to find out what's going on.

The new article should give the background of what the Common Era means, where it comes from, why people want to use it, and why other people don't want to use it. (Even though I'm in favour of CE I think I presented the POVs equally). Sbwoodside 04:29, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I copied the contents of CE' into CE. Common Era was a separate article until its contents were merged into Anno Domini on January 10, 2004, so I copied it rather than moved it to preserve the previous History and Talk of Common Era. See the next to last edit by Roadrunner in its History for its contents at that time. It might move back again! — Joe Kress 06:38, Sep 27, 2004 (UTC)
FYI, the proper way to copy the contents back to the redirect page would have been to first type Common Era in the search box and click Go. The article Anno Domini would have appeared but with the redirect page, Common Era, linked below it. Clicking on that link would have caused the redirect page to appear which could then be modified. — Joe Kress 05:08, Sep 28, 2004 (UTC)

I just came to this page on a redirect from 'Common era', someone more knowledgeable than I should change the redirect, as it makes no sense.

Done—Common era now redirects to Common Era. — Joe Kress 07:25, Oct 29, 2004 (UTC)

Move this page to Christian Era?

I think that in fact this page should be title Christian Era. Anno Domini is the designation used for years in the Christian Era. The Christian Era itself (as first defined by Dionysius Exiguus in 52whatever) is the era that we are talking about here ... AD is simply a way of designating a number as being meaningful within that era. See calendar era for an idea of what an era is. Anno Domini is not an era; it is a designation. To quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia [[3]](which I think we can bow to on this matter):

"Christian Era ... This was introduced about the year 527 by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk resident at Rome, who fixed its starting point in the year 753 from the foundation of Rome, in which year, according to his calculation, the birth of Christ occurred. Making this the year 1 of his era, he counted the years which followed in regular course from it, calling them years "of the Lord", and we now designate such a date A.D. (i.e. Anno Domini)" [emphasis added]

Sbwoodside 03:02, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There are many other Christian Eras than that using AD years: The Coptic Church begins its Era of Martyrs at 284-85, the Ethiopic Church begins its Incarnation Era at 8-9, and the Byzantine Era began at 5509-08 BC, not to mention the many different AM years used during the first millennium by various authors and churches, like the Alexandrian Era at 5493-92 BC. — Joe Kress 05:08, Sep 28, 2004 (UTC)
There was also a Spanish Era that began in 38 BC. Adam Bishop 05:54, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I don't think it matters whether AD is a 'designation' or an era. One thing's for sure, it's a topic, and as such merits its own article. I think the new article of Common Era should include mention of Christian Era - that they are, in fact, one and the same thing, the former being just a politically correct device to appease those who can't accept reality. Arcturus 19:06, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Well, I linked to this article in the common era article (it's the first link). I would personally argue that they are not the same thing (and certainly they are not the same topic). I would agree that they coincide perfectly in terms of dates, but from a post-modern perspective, one is christo-centric and the other is not, which makes them different. I would argue that, instead, the Common Era primarily is a neutral Era, and secondarily that it coincides with the Christian Era as a matter of pragmatic convenience; in other words, it would have been better, but impracticable, to choose a new starting point. It's a different point of view on the subject than you might have, but valid in a post-modern (thus relative) sense, ignoring the politically correct (taken as revisionistic) sense.
Well, I think if numerically identical, that is BC=BCE, and AD=CE for any year, than we should merge them (I won't personally). The fact there were numbering differences in the past means little. Often synonomis emerge due to seperate histories. There's only one Falkland Islands article. We don't write a seperate article from the "Spanish/Argentine" side, and another from the British side. It's merged into one, since it refers to one thing. How is this different? --rob 19:15, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Accuracy of dating section

Someone (or maybe a couple of people) keeps tagging "if he existed at all" into this section.

I am only a beginning Biblical scholar, but my impression has been that most actual scholars do believe that there was some person who existed. I don't think the "if he existed it all" disclaimer is accurate. However, I'm willing to discuss other ways to make this section seem less POV. (And, of course, my impression is not worth much as evidence. Can we find some? I'll try to find some references.) [[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 19:37, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Isn't it obvious, like by definition, that a Biblical scholar would assume that Jesus existed? The idea that there should be "if he existed at all" in there seems ludicrous. I should think that most historians, even non-religious ones, would agree that there's a strong probability that the historical Jesus existed (even if he wasn't truly the son of God) Sbwoodside 20:00, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There is remarkably little evidence for a Historical Jesus. Even Christians admit that the only evidence they have for him are the gospels, which are not, and were not written as, historical documents. Most unbiased scholars discount the events claimed in the gospels... which leaves no evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. See historicity of Jesus for more. There are some documents from around ~2CE that mention christians... but that doesnt mean that there was a historical Jesus Christ. (if you dont understand why, ask yourself this question: is the existence nowadays of people who believe in alien abduction and flying saucerss proof that aliens are visiting the earth? (notwithstanding any other evidence)? The Rev of Bru 02:58, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The evidence, however, does seem to indicate that someone existed. Historians today are more interested in what we can ascertain about his life, not in whether or not he ever had one. The gospels are not the only source. There are references by such writers as Paul, Josephus, and Tacitus (source: [4]). Does anyone have clear evidence that there are, in fact, a significant number of scholars who don't believe that any such person ever existed? [[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 15:40, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
See bibliography(ies) in rewrite in progress at Historicity of Jesus/. There are many scholars who question the existence of the literal person, but for very few topics is it specifically relevant (iow: if researching the crusades, it doesn't matter if he was, in fact, an allegorical character so long as he served as a motivation for the events studied, so it won't be an element of the research report.) Further, use of the term "scholar" is in question at WikiProject Jesus since it often a way to include a huge population of theologians while simultaneously excluding amateur historians (who, oddly enough, produce a surprisingly large percentage of published peer-reviewed journal articles.) Conclusion: the use of "majority" or "minority" view on this topic is disputed. - Amgine 21:59, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Proposed style change

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/proposed revision 1) proposes "BC" and "AD" (in contrast with "BCE" and "CE") as standard for Wikipedia, 2) apparently encourages linking of years, and 3) encourages linking of units of measurement, among other changes. It also reverses the style of many of the dates used within the guide (such as "February 12" to "12 February"). See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) for discussion. Maurreen 01:41, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Not sure what this has got to do with the article, but Maurreen has not provided an accurate summary of the proposed revision. However, anyone interested in it can go to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) to discuss it, jguk 08:06, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

New proposal concerning AD and NPOV

I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC and AD represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE and CE instead. See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate for the detailed proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:33, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Year calculation method in Taiwan (ROC)

I know that paragraph is a little bit off topic, yet someone put that in, so I'd like to comment on the accuracy. The way to calculate "in the year of ROC" is using the year in AD minus 1911. Therefore, should we put the correct year in the content? bobby 13:23, 5 July 2005 (UTC)

You are confusing many different events. The Wuchang uprising on 10 October 1911 was the event that led to the creation of the Republic of China—the republic was not created on that day. The republic was declared by Sun Yat-sen on 1 January 1912, which he also declared to be the first day of the Gregorian calendar in China. However, the republic ceased to exist the next year when China descended into a period of warlordism, which did not end until Chiang Kai-shek overthrew the Beijing warlord in late 1928 and decreed the new Republic of China to be in existence beginning 10 October 1928 (note the same date in different years). The Gregorian calendar was reaffirmed effective 1 January 1929 by outlawing the traditional calendar. 1929 was also the first year that ROC years were actually used, but they were backdated to 1912. Although you are correct that the ROC year is AD-1911, such a calculation should not be in the article—only the first year should be in the article. 1911 is year 0 of the calculation. 1912-1911=1, thus 1912 was the first year. — Joe Kress 6 July 2005 02:19 (UTC)

Cease-fire on eras

I've suggested a cease-fire on eras, at the Village pump. Maurreen (talk) 09:38, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Question regarding use of "Roman Empire"

I was confused by the bold part of this (from Anno Domini#The popularization of Anno Domini:

A few generations later, the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede, who was familiar with the work of Dionysius, also used Anno Domini dating in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, finished in 731. Bede was different from historians working in more important places in two ways: First, he was in Northumbria, outside the bounds of the later Roman Empire.

Should it be "earlier Roman Empire", or "later Holy Roman Empire"? Or am I just confused? Chuck 23:48, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

You have a right to be confused. I am not sure what the editor who added that paragraph had in mind. He mentions Italy, France, and Spain, which were part of the Western Roman Empire until its dissolution in the fifth century. When Bede wrote his History in 731, they were not part of any empire and they certainly weren't "more important places". The Holy Roman Empire did not begin until 834. The only part of the Roman Empire still in existence in 731 was the Eastern Roman Empire which was the most important place at that time, especially its capital Constantinople. But its historians usually used the Alexandrian Era, which is just as good as any other very long term era. Besides Constantinople, the British Isles, including Northumbria, were indeed the most important places. Continental centers of learning, mainly in monasteries, were established a century later by disciples of Bede himself. The editor seems to be of the opinion that a plethora of regnal dating systems were in use, which simply wasn't the case in my opinion. I'm not sure how to better word that paragraph. — Joe Kress 20:58, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Why is the epoch Jesus' date of birth, rather than death?

The article doesn't address something I've occasionally wondered about.

Why was the year of Jesus's birth, rather than the year of his death, used as the epoch?

I would have thought the year of Jesus's death would be a much more natural starting point to use for both theological and historical reasons.

Theologically, the death and resurrection of Christ are far more important to Christians than his birth. Historically, Jesus was famous at the time of his death and therefore it has more and better historical evidence than the time of his birth.

So, why was the date of his birth chosen as the starting point? Dpbsmith (talk) 16:26, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

This depends on the luck of history. Many different Christian counts of years have been used over the last two millennia. The dominant Christian count during the first millennium did not even refer to Christ—it was the Anno Mundi (in the year of the world) era counted from Creation (several counts existed), used by almost all Western (originally Latin) Christians for the first five centuries, and by Eastern (originally Greek) Christians until AD 1700 when Russia adopted the AD count, and even by some Eastern Christians privately to this day. Relative to Christ, in AD 457 Victorius bagan his 532-year Easter table in the year we now call AD 28, where Easter is an annual celebration of Christ's Resurrection. During the first three centuries it was an annual remembrance of his Crucifixion. Sometimes both were combined into the Parousia. The errors in Victorius's table caused it to be replaced. Bede's great influence caused the count by Dionysius Exiguus to dominate. The habit of writing brief notices of what happended in a specific year in the margins of Easter tables caused the AD count to be used historically as well, even before Bede by Irish monks. Ironically, Dionysius does not even mention Christ's birth or Nativity, instead he always refers to his Incarnation or conception, which by the time he wrote in AD 525 was firmly fixed on 25 March, nine months before 25 December, which had been fixed as his Nativity in the fourth century. I'm not sure why Dionysius uses the Incarnation of Jesus as opposed to his Resurrection. After all, he only created a new Easter table just like Victorius (which was to replace it), and did not use his count of years for any historical purpose. — Joe Kress 21:43, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

year 0; scientific/astronomical

Joe Kress changed the bit about scientific numbering. I reworded it again in an attempt to put in it in a wider perspective. What I mean to say is that the AD/BC numbering deviates from the standard western numbering system. But I wonder if the year 0 is only used in astronomical numbering. Isn't it used more generally in science, or is it just that the problem only presents itself in astronomy? Also, it makes sense to mention why the year 0 is omitted in the christian numnering system (the Romans didn't know a zero). And how often does one need a precision of one year? Rarely, I presume. And finally, how common is the numbering without a zero? There was quite some dispute over when the 20th century started, so one can't state that the non-zero option is the most common one. Actaually, most people celebrated it on 1 January 2000 (not 2001), but that was probably not for this reason. DirkvdM 08:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

I am certain that the classical Romans knew about the number zero. We are taught that they did not know about zero because virtually all books and articles on the history of numbers only discuss number symbols, not number words. They had two perfectly good Latin words meaning nothing which would mean zero in an arithmetic context, nulla and nihil. I am certain that any arithmetic treatise by a classical Roman author would mention zero via these words. I suspect that some Roman may have even used a symbol for zero, the obvious choice being the initial of the Latin words, N, just as C from centum means 100 and M from mille means 1000. N was actually used at least once by Bede or a colleague about 725 in an epact table reprinted in the Corpus Christianorum.
Be that as it may, it has no bearing on the article because the Romans did not invent the AD era. But the person who did, Dionysius Exiguus, certainly knew about zero because he used it in the same table where he introduced the AD era, although in a different column. See my discussion in year zero#Bede.
No other scientific discipline besides astronomy uses a year zero. Archaeology uses several methods to date events, but none are negative years. "Years before present" literally means the number of radiocarbon years before 1950, but often means the same thing as "years ago", before 2000 or 2005. Of course, BC or BCE is also used, producing a number about 2000 smaller, and is preferred for historical dates because the artifacts thus dated can be correlated with historical dates obtained from written sources, which never use a year zero. Dendrochronology (tree rings) can be dated to a single year, but use BC/BCE. Geology usually uses "years ago". I can't think of any other scientific discipline that refers to years before the AD era.
Precision to a single year is normal for the first three centuries BC. Indeed, an error of one year is serious. No historian uses a year zero, which itself is over 99% of all recorded dates before the AD era (astronomy's use of zero is negligible).
Joe Kress 04:36, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. I just wonder about that last phrase; astronomy's use of zero is negligible. Do you mean by that that astronomy uses such big numbers that whether one uses a system with or without a zero doesn't really matter (as opposed to in archaeology). The only problem I can think of is with something like a supernova before 0 that was recorded at the time but later expressed with the BC/AD notation. And that would only be the case with European records. If they were Chinese the discrepancy would be so obvious that confusion is unlikely. DirkvdM 10:46, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
You're concern is warranted. I didn't like the phrase myself after re-reading it. I should have said "astronomy's use of zero is negligible by comparison, much less than 1%". Astronomy habitually uses a year 0, but the total of all astronomical dates in all books is very small compared to the total of all historical dates in all books, mostly because many more historical books are written than astronomical books. Furthermore, the phrase did not refer to a precision of one year, thus it should have been in another paragraph. — Joe Kress 06:58, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Upon rereading it was clear what you meant. I added the above info to the Astronomical year numbering article. See what you think. DirkvdM 07:03, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Removal of weasel words

I have removed the sentence "This terminology is often preferred in interfaith dialog." (when referring to BCE/CE notation from the introduction as it is non-specific - in other words, weasel words). The word "often" gives no indication of commonality and no source is available. Besides, most interfaith dialogue does not include discussion of events happening over 2,000 years ago, but concentrates more on the present and recent past, so the use of any terminology for dates is not at all in point. Also, I'm not sure the sentence adds anything to the article, jguk 20:20, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I've added this comment to CDThieme's talk page, as he, as yet, seems unwilling to explain his reverts on the talk page:

CDThieme, ArbCom merely ruled that I can't change BCE to BC or CE to AD in any article. I'm quite permitted to do anything else that is in accordance with Wikipedia policy. Eg, where appropriate, I can remove BCE and CE, replace a reference to, say "around 2000 BCE" to "around 4,000 years ago", remove references to "(the) Common Era" or "Before (the) Common Era". There's no need to overplay the position.

If you could argue that you would be making such a change in good faith, which, given that there have already been two arbitration cases against you, is pretty tough. squell 21:38, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
The first one didn't rule against me. The second one didn't allow me to present evidence. Besides, the ruling against me puts me on a par with two ArbCom members, so I'm in good company. I suppose prolific editors have to accept that that will be the case from time to time in the current climate on WP. But to address your specific point, I have always edited in good faith, and there has been no finding to the contrary. Anyway, the question here is whether (1) there is support for the statement (in which case the statement can, at the very least, be revised so that it better reflects the evidence), and (2) whether, in any event, it is relevant to an article on "Anno Domini"?, jguk 21:51, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
What I mean is that even from my limited exposure, it seems apparent you have something against Common Era dating, and would prefer Wikipedia to steer people away from it. Also, on Wikipedia itself, there have been many discussions about AD vs CE dating, some of which you have participated in, so you should know that there is support for the statement. It is relevant to Anno Domini because it explains why someone would prefer a different name for exactly the same thing. — squell 08:06, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
What I have against it is that, in world terms, it is little used and little understood. On google searches BC has precedence over BCE by a margin of 9 or 10 to 1, in real life (bearing in mind that google searches on the subject will give greater weighting to usage by the US and by academia) it has been estimated at 50 to 1. It's a question of conveying information clearly to as wide an audience as possible, and that means using terminology a wide audience will understand. Here, I am not against making reference to the term "Common Era", and would agree that it is inappropriate to delete it (after all, we're in the business of providing useful information, not deleting it). What I am questioning is the usefulness of the sentence afterwards, which is "This terminology is often preferred in interfaith dialog". That sentence is meaningless for this article, has no providence (or at least no providence for which a source is provided), and suggests the terminology is far more prevalent than in fact it is (and if I'm wrong on this, it ought to be possible to provide sources to contradict me - and ought to be possible to be more exact than the imprecise word "often"), jguk 09:12, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I've noted your arguments before. It's not really relevant to bring that up here, anyway — personally, I don't care about AD/CE. I just think going on about this at length is a waste of time and likely to corrupt articles. I'm going to be bold and change the statement (drawing from Common Era), interpreting it simply as an explanation of why some prefer CE dating. — squell 11:43, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

On Anno Domini I have removed the sentence "This terminology is often preferred in interfaith dialog.", which, quite patently, can't be described as changing BCE to BC or CE to AD. I have elucidated on my reasons on Talk:Anno Domini, as well as mentioned in the edit summaries that these are "weasel words". My explanation on talk goes further and says that these are unsupported by references and, in any event, would be irrelevant to a discussion on "Anno Domini". If you wish to disagree with me, please explain why on the talk page (Talk:Anno Domini. If you do not wish to argue a case alternative to mine, please allow my edit to stand, jguk 21:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I look forward to a constructive response, jguk 21:11, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Squell, thank you for your suggestion, which is to add "because of its less overt religious implications", but I am still going to remove it as it is a statement that I do not believe to be generally true. For example, many Jewish scholars use CE because it is, in their view, not Christian, rather than because CE is less overt - had AM notation been used instead, they would not object. The difficulties in explaining the arguments and history in using the term "Common Era" appear to have been discussed in some detail above, and to have led to a new breakaway article at Common Era being created to discuss the issue. The sentence preceding it makes clear that there is more to be read on "Common Era" if a reader so chooses - thereby encouraging the reader to learn more about it. To my mind this means we don't need to offer a summary of the reasons, which will necessarily be inaccurate, here, jguk 22:33, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm going to remove my addition again — you removed it, and CDThieme apparently also doesn't think it is a proper substitute; it's not my intent to pepper this article with superfluous by-sentences. I would like to ask CDThieme to explain what "interfaith dialog" actually means. I'd also suggest Jguk and CDThieme stop editing this article and wait for other editors who will have this page on their watchlist to jump in. I get the feeling this dispute is too much about ideology, while what is needed are practical arguments by people who don't give a rats ass about either dating style. squell 09:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I apologise that I didn't read your note until I'd just reverted CDThieme. As my edit summary noted (without the benefit of reading your comments), I also think "it's often preferred in interfaith dialogue" is meaningless. It's also, as you note, an aside. I'll leave it for others to discuss now, jguk 19:19, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree with jguk. However, I suspect that it is possible to find a verifiable source that says this, and it would be more productive to go look for one than to carry on a revert war over a sentence that is plausible but is vague, unsourced, and weasel-worded. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:48, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Instead of trying to develop consensus, people just keep editing, even though there are now three people here who cast their doubts about the factual accuracy of the statement about interfaith dialog, and then it gets expanded thus:
The use of CE has become increasingly popular in recent decades as a recognition that Christianity is not universally accepted, and that others should not be forced to accept the divinity of Jesus, even implicitly, by the use of the Anno Domini system.
This is highly POV, since it implies that indeed, using AD is an implicit recognition of said divinity and more egregiously, that using it is forcing christianity upon others.
This is backed up here: How is it POV to suggest the some people prefer CE because of the perceived bias (whether real or not) of using BC/AD. Do you have an alternative reference explaining the reasons to use CE rather than BC/AD? Note that I don't say that using BC/AD implies a belief in the divinity of Jesus, but rather that some of those who use CE believe that. Sortan 22:27, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Then you should agree that ".. as a recognition that [...] foo should not" is too strong language. It was also tautological because it said the same thing about christianity twice. If you don't mind, I think this Talk section has been blown tremendously out of proportion for such a small piece, and second, I'm very content with dpbsmith's last edit, which is a major improvement over anything that was here previously squell 00:17, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I would be fine with rewording it with other language, but I feel that it is important to include that at least some people feel that BC/AD are religiously charged, and hence prefer BCE/CE. As stated below, I am not happy with the current version as it implies that CE is only used in "interfaith" dialog. I would agree that this is being blown out of proportion, but it was jguk's incessant revert warring that started it. Sortan 19:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
He's obviously highly critical of CE, but he's using the talk page (which CDThieme, who reverted both me and him, has not yet done). He complained about a weasely worded "interfaith dialogue" sentence, the result of which is that the weasel words have been replaced by a sourced statement. squell 20:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
The use of the Common Era system is particularly predominant in academic, historical, and archaeological use
While this sentence may be true if you would append "in the US" to it (I don't know!) it certainly isn't true as a general statement. squell 00:16, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Note that the version I reverted to did indeed include "in the US", and was simply the version that CDthieme was defending. From the table of contents of the reference Sortan added, I gather that it is an inherently religious book (be it jewish or christian centric, I don't care) which to me makes it immediately suspect to draw any conclusion from. However, if you can cite from that reference to address the points I raised, go ahead. squell 00:37, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The equivalent of the Common Era system is the only one used in China, and CE is widely used even in the UK (despite what jguk would have you believe). To claim that it is only used in the U.S. is misleading. As for the reference, you would only get "inherently religious" books talking about interfaith dialog. The current version by User:Dpbsmith is inadequate as it doesn't cover the reasons some people have for using CE, as well as misleading by implying CE is only used in interfaith dialog. Sortan 22:27, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Find better source(s), then. But quote authority, don't try to be authority. If what you want to say is widely held to be true, it should not be hard to find someone, somewhere, who says so. (And ditto for opposing views, of course). Dpbsmith (talk) 23:46, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
It is only absolutely necessary to "quote" authority when the facts or opinions are disputed (among other "authorities"). For example, there is no need to "quote authority" when saying the "world is approximately a sphere", where a reference is sufficient. Similarly, saying that some people prefer BCE/CE because of the perceived religious bias of BC/AD is perfectly fine, as well as saying BCE/CE is preferred in interfaith dialog (unless there is a source that claims that BC/AD is preferred). Sortan 19:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
This is incorrect. Wikipedia:Verifiability requires sources to be provided, and I think it's accepted amongst the regular contributors here that ideally everything would be sourced. Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words says that we should avoid using imprecise terms, such as "some". Does "some" mean 0.01% (at which point it is too insignificant to mention) or 99.99% (in which case it can be better worded) or somewhere in between? The idea that we should accept any statement (in this case "BCE/CE is preferred in interfaith dialogue") unless someone can cite a source that supports the exact oppose (here "BC/AD is preferred in interfaith dialogue") is preposterous, jguk 20:15, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
It may not be absolutely necessary, but it is a good idea and I think will help stabilize this part of the article. This seems to be a part of the article where people are having trouble agreeing on what the proper summary/summaries of authoritative opinion.
Also, this is a difficult area because one can choose to use BCE/CE or BC/AD for a huge variety of reasons, and one can perceive the use in a variety of ways, and I don't know that there are any accurate tabulated statistics about people's motivation for their choice. So I think it's wise to give specific examples of what specific authorities say or think rather than to try to make broad generalizations.
Completely tangentially: I don't think I've ever seen "CE" on a tombstone... has anyone? Dpbsmith (talk) 20:35, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
This is largely a tempest in a teapot created by a single determined editor. Every source I've seen says "CE" is preferred in interfaith dialog (especially in regards to Judaism). Every source says that CE is preferred by people as an alternative to the perceived religious bias of BC/AD (whether the bias is real or imaginary is up for debate, but that fact that some people think it has a bias is not). I would be very interested to have a source which gives an alternative reason for the growing use of CE, or that BC/AD is preferred in interfaith dialog. These facts aren't disputed anywhere but here, and mostly by one single person, and there is no need to qualify statements that aren't contested. Sortan 21:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Books about religion, and books engaging in religion are two entirely different things. To all other points mdash; this is an article about AD, not CE, so any reference to the latter should be factual and concise, not duplicate Common Era. The current edit is excellent in this regard, and points to two further sources of information. Please let this subject rest now. squell 00:17, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure which book you're talking about, but neither of the sources I added are "engaging" in religion, but "talking" about it. I also don't think its appropriate to shunt criticism of Anno Domini to the Common Era article. That article deals with the criticism of Common Era, this article should deal with the criticism of Anno Domini. Sortan 19:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Look, there is just one dominant year numbering, and AD and CE are two names for it. Calling it CE is a cognitive choice out of preference or political correctness, to avoid the christian association. So Common Era should host all pro- and contra points (as it does now), while Anno Domini should simply talk about how the dating scheme itself. The two articles shouldn't engage in politics against eachother. squell 20:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. That there are criticisms of Anno Domini and its perceived religious bias (along with the abbreviations AD and BC) is directly related to this article dealing with "Anno Domini". The criticism is not really directly related to Common Era, and saying move it there is no more appropriate than saying move the criticism to Hebrew calendar, or Islamic calendar. Sortan 21:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I made my last comment here before noticing that someone had added the Cunningham and Starr source. Whoever it was, thanks - a quotable reference is just what this discussion needed. I'm not sure how best to segue the reference into the text. Now we have something quotable to latch a comment onto, I have made a short "Common Era" section to discuss this - but I'm not sure it flows as well as it could (and also I think the way the reference was initially added didn't help the flow - but that's a small matter that can be corrected, providing the reference is far more valuable than the cost of fixing that). I'd be grateful if others can help word the new "Common Era" section better though - it may now be demonstrably correct, but it's worded too stiltily, jguk 21:15, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

(I'll add my comment here as this is where I intended it to go before the edit conflict.) Apologies to other editors for having to edit war to make my edit stick [5], but I do believe it deserves to be considered on its merits rather than to be blindly reverted by CDThieme. Whilst I have been writing this comment, it seems someone's jumped in to protect the page, which wasn't my intention. As noted above, I'm grateful that we now have a quotable source, which in turn allows us to make a specific comment about the issue. We need to make the text flow better, and I believe my edit in a step in the right direction there, though I also believe it is not the last word. Further ideas to improve how the article covers the Common Era designation would be appreciated, jguk 22:06, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
As I've said before, I don't think there's a need to discuss it ad nauseam in this article. Frankly, I don't think that the editing of you, Sortan and CDThieme is going to be productive so I will again ask all three of you to simply stop trying and let editors who manage to use civil edit summaries to take care of this article. squell 22:35, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Frankly, I don't appreciate your tone, nor you claiming authority over who does and does not get to edit this article. Please point me to where I haven't used civil edit summaries, or how adding sources is not "productive". Sortan 22:49, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I've looked at the previous interactions between you and Jguk, and you don't mix well, all the while calling eachother trolls and/or vandals; the revert-war between CDThieme and Jguk has now resulted in page protection. This article (and Common Era) has other structural problems, yet they are not being addressed. But, since "you don't appreciate my tone", I will keep quiet now. Have a nice day. squell 23:29, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I don't quite understand... are you saying that "I don't appreciate your tone" is uncivil? If so, I will apologize, and say I didn't intend it that way. It was a reaction to you accusing me of using uncivil edit summaries in this article and claiming that it was not productive to add sources, and finally telling me to stop editing. Sortan 00:07, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Those are not my words, re-read them — I'll emphasise. By the way, if you don't like someone claiming authority, then what of CDThieme's unilateral decision that Jguk can't edit this article, without explaining his reasons here? squell 18:48, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't remember why I have this on my watchlist, but you are all seriously pissing me off, therefore you have won the "page is now protected" sweepstakes. SOLVE YOUR DAMN PROBLEM HERE FIRST. Thanks. Adam Bishop 22:01, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Mention of CE

Let's try this again. How much mention should this article give to Common Era? Personally I think it's adequate right now. This article should briefly alude to CE, Common Era should host the entire discussion (referring back here for any other details). In particular, this article should not be making any claims that are not already in Common Era. squell 18:48, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. Common Era should not be mentioned in this article any more than it is already, or even less for all I care. Since this 'Common Era' business is simply a euphemism for the original Anno Domini terminology, it deserves no more than a small mention on this page. Over on the Common Era page, however, the Anno Domini must be overtly referenced due to the fact that it is the original terminology, that in which common era stemmed off. PatrickA 00:13, 24 December 2005 (UTC).

Since nobody seems to have an interest in this issue without the instant reward of seeing the article change, I have requested unprotection. squell 16:10, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

That was not an invitation to start another round. During the last week nobody stepped up and complained about the protected version or proposed alternatives, so it appeared to have the closest thing to a consensus here. squell 03:46, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know man, but I've got an itchy blocking finger :) Adam Bishop 06:59, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that BC and AD should be replaced with BCE and CE? I was kind of surprised that, this being an encyclopedia, everything is marked otherwise. Sorry if this has been mentioned before. SprSynJn 23:46, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The easiest answer is: Yes, it is just you. The more accurate answer is tedious and not very satisfying, but can be found in triplicate here, here, here, and probably other places, too. squell 15:55, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I see, thank you. Although my original question was rhetorical, as it is obvious that I am not the only person in this world who believes so, your answer seems to actually imply that you are sure it is just me. Funny. SprSynJn 17:43, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm more implying that the subject isn't really worth bothering about, looking at the volumes of fruitless debate it has already generated. squell 21:19, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I took the liberty of adding that After Death was an incorrect translation of the abbreviation. Being constantly flammed on forums when ever I bring up it's true meaning is getting rather old. Look fine? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Shiadon (talkcontribs) 14:51, 24 December 2006 (UTC).
The point about AD not meaning After Death is already mentioned in the "Popularization" section, so I have removed it from the introductory paragraph. This should be discussed in the "Address After Death" section of the talk page. It would be great if someone could find a reliable source that says that "After Death" is a widespread error. --Gerry Ashton 16:11, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Cunningham and Starr - Who?

Regarding the reference to Cunningham and Starr (1998), forgive my ignorance but who are they? A google search turns up nothing. So why are these unknown people quoted here, and in any case, who cares what they think? The comment and reference is entirely out of place in this article, and so, for that matter are most of the references and external links, which aren't about AD, but are about the controversy of AD vs CE. Arcturus 22:51, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

You can find information and a list of his publications here. Apparently Starr was notable enough for a New Hampshire newspaper to note his opposition to the Religious "Freedom" Act. They're not famous, but that's not a criterion. squell 14:38, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Someone had challenged an unsourced comment that "B.C.E./C.E. are preferred in interfaith dialog." This is here because it's a good, verifiable, print reference for the view that B.C.E./C.E. are preferred in interfaith dialog. It's up to you, or any reader, to make your own judgement of how much authority you think they have.
If you think the statement is not neutral, then it's up to you to find a good, verifiable source for the opinion that B.C.E./C.E. are not particularly appropriate interfaith dialog. Assuming it's a reasonable source, i.e. print, or a clearly authoritative website, there'd be a case for including it in the article as well. The whole point of WP:CITE is that everything, but particularly statements involving judgement and opinion, must be traceable to a source other than Wikipedia editors and that readers be able to verify that the source really says that, and judge the source's reliability for themselves.
Conversely, if someone can find an obviously better source, they should add it to the article or even replace this reference.
It seems to me that a usage comment is entirely appropriate in this article, just as the comment that "ångström is ... not an SI unit. It is accepted (although discouraged) for use with the SI" is entirely appropriate in the angstrom article. Dpbsmith (talk) 15:48, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

BTW, sorry it's in the wrong section..... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Shiadon (talkcontribs) 14:52, 24 December 2006 (UTC).

Concerning the last copyedit

Thanks at first for several copyedits you made after me. You can be sure that I attempt to write without faults. But it's true, if I know, that's an article of Joe Kress, I'm reassured. I know, he'll reread and correct obvious defects. Thanks again.

With your version I'm consenting except two points:
You deleted: "...and – not at least – to the fact that until now, the solar Gregorian calendar has always been considered to be astronomically the most correct one 1 (see article: Tropical year)." Imagine the hypothetical case, Christianity would not have "inherited" Caesar's calendar, but a lunar calendar like the ancient Roman or the better Greek Metonian lunar calendar: I'm sure at least after the Renaissance, men of the Early Modern Time would not any longer have accepted a such one lunar calendar for civil use.

You see: The Gregorian calendar fetches his force not only in "the (European) tradition", but also clearly by the fact, that's a solar calendar. Because it is a solar calendar, it's definition must be close to the tropical year or as the case may be the vernal equinox year.

That's the second point where I not agree: definition vs. approximation. Like the julian year is clearly defined 365.25 days, the gregorian year is also defined 365.2425 days. That this definition should be the close to the tropical/vernal equinox year to be widely accepted is obvious. Also, since we know that neither the vernal equinox year nor the tropical year is stable over times, such calendar year definitions are always approximations respectively to the astronomical realities. However it is doubtless the matter of definitions.

A minor point: concerning the Persian calendar you added "which is very close to the vernal equinox year". We should at least add "present" because in Khayyám's lifetime, the vernal equinox year was sth. like 365.2423 days.

Outside: I didn't verified who added the "Cunningham and Starr" reference. Like Arcturus above, I don't know who they are? A lexicon which I ignore, or who else? Do you know more, Joe?

Paul Martin 11:45, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

P.S. Out of topo: One day when we both will have time and notion, I would appreciate to discuss with you the celestial coordinate systems, because the current vernal equinox reference in these coordinate systems, seems me to be antiquated, perhaps worse. It seems me, nowadays as unacceptable, like it is – in modern scientific consideration – e.g. a New Year's Day trying to be fixed at the real phenomena of solstice or equinox. These celestial coordinate systems dates of a time, when science thought both that the equinoctial and the tropical years are identical and that this length is invariable over times.

For the "Cunningham and Starr" reference:
There's a (too) lengthy talk section about it above; they have (apparently) written a book about 'interfaith dialogue'. The addition at that time helped to stem POV pushing (from either side) in this article.
In the other respects:
I was tempted last night to remove even more than Joe Kress did (but decided to wait); for the simple reason that the era isn't directly related to the Gregorian calendar, but the other way around. AD was also used with the Julian calendar, and wouldn't the supposed Revised Julian calender also use it? Conversely, no AD vs. CE debate is about astronomical accuracy, obviously. ;) The statement about the 'Revised Julian calendar' seems a bit too brief anyway, as its accuracy is actually worse. squell 14:28, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Hallo Squell. We dialogue for the first time, but sometimes I saw your contributions. Thanks for your reply.

  • For the content of the "Cunningham and Starr" statement, I'm not against to let it in the article. Effectively, this should be the sense of the "C.E. mode": signalling that the enunciator not necessarily has "faith in Christ". (Me, personally, I don't like suchlike "cosmetics". Because, however named this Dionysian Era, it is and will be the Christian era, the Anno Domini era. The rest is an attempt of prescribing terminology in a zeitgeist political correctness. Seldom justified and mostly ignored.) Only I demand me whether it is reasonable to explicitly referring to these two widely unknown authors, or if it would be better to freely formulate the current content.
    On the other hand, the modern Common Era is now, I.M.H.O. the years since the 365 first days of 1792, the appropriate, common year zero of the Modern Time, the adequate modern era for all citizens, all around the world, whatsoever their religious convictions. (Like already you read it perhaps, on my user page.) But because this "crosscut saw definition" of my friend Michael Florencetime is – at the present time – victim of the perhaps most scandalous and iniquitous censorship of modern times – the last and ultimate defence for the appearance of an unchanged status quo – we can't instantaneous insert this nor in the corresponding Wikipedia articles.
  • You are right, A.D. is not a Gregorian invention, since the Gregorian calendar is the reformed Christian, julian calendar. You wrote: "the 'Revised Julian calendar' [offers an] accuracy [...] actually worse". Depending which accuracy you mean. For Christian Easter date calculations your statement is just. But for a good civil calendar, there is no objective reason to privilege the vernal equinox – since the civil society is not subordinated to the terms of Nicaea Council regulating Easter dates – quite the contrary: any modern civil calendar must be orientated to the real tropical year. What uses it to try maintain the vernal equinox at its date (thereto see also Peter's table at Talk:Year zero) if all your other beginnings of seasons and the whole year hilariously diverge, by applying a exceptional common year rule out-dated since five or six millennia?

Paul Martin 17:32, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

    • If you think you can rewrite the section on the common era, using neutral language and avoiding weasel words, I won't demand that the references be kept. However, this does mean that whatever you 'freely' formulate might again become subject to disagreement between others.
    • Easter cares about the vernal equinox, so you have to judge a christian calendar by that. The distinction between VE and mean tropical year is totally irrelevant for any civil calendar, because no single civilization will last long enough to see the seasons diverge. Regardless, an article which discusses an era is simply not the best place to put this information. squell 18:59, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

For the section on the common era, I don't have intention to rewrite it now. We'll see together how to formulate it later without "again become subject to disagreement between others".

You are right, and I don't have any reproach, neither to the Anno Domini era, nor to the Gregorian exceptional common year rule. Except the fact, that currently more than two third of our contemporaries, in reality, never lived a second in the Anno Domini era, despite of the "vintage" printed on our tax computation. That's a fact. If it's an old lie: All living in the 21th century. However it's a lie! What in Bede's time in Europe, perhaps wasn't false, nowadays in our global civilisation is false.

You wrote: "The distinction between VE and mean tropical year is totally irrelevant for any civil calendar, because no single civilization will last long enough to see the seasons diverge." I demand me, what notion you have about science. In science, everywhere else, the most accurate value is the best one and this value have to be applied. Relativisms like: "But see, it's only the question of just 27 seconds a year. And with a supplementary exceptional leap year in about 1200 years, we can correct all this." are neither convincing nor justified. In our now modern times, everywhere else, we calculate rather in picoseconds than in nanoseconds. Nor it's true: I ignore what age you have, but probably you have good chances to see all the "seasons diverge" in the Gregorian calendar after A.D. MM.XLVIII–II–XXVIII. Neither that's for the first time in our history. Beyond, "an article which discusses an [solar] era" has also to discuss (briefly) its astronomical base, implied by its present rules, which try to synchronise the calendar year and the astronomical realities.

The truth is: The Dionysian Era is not a chronology, but a chronicle, in which perhaps you and me live, but surely not all human beings all around the world;
and moreover: The only chronology existing before, the astronomical, so-called Cassini chronology, is not continuous and ironically astronomically shifted.

Paul Martin 21:05, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I thought that my extensive edit would trigger a reaction. I agree with Squell that I didn't delete enough. Discussion of any calendar's accuracy has no business being in an article about an era. It belongs in the calendar's article, not here. Thus even the footnote should not be here.
I do not accept your argument that the Gregorian calendar's accuracy contributes to its acceptance. I would go even further than Squell in saying that as long as the astronomical cues of a particular calendar do not appreciably change during the average person's lifetime (usually shorter than a civilization's lifetime) then its accuracy is acceptable. Note that the Julian calendar was not changed for over 1500 years because its drift relative to the seasons was not noticeable during any person's lifetime. Furthermore, as far as the average person is concerned, a calendar's sole purpose is to label a day, to give it a name, to distinguish it from other days. The average person does not care whether it is 'accurate' or not. The astronomical cues are those inherent in the calendar, thus even though the Islamic calendar has a substantial drift relative to the seasons in only one decade, there is no reason to reform it because its accuracy relative to the seasons is not its purpose. That drift was obviously no hindrance to agricultural activity because Muslims not only did not starve during the Middle Ages, but prospered, becoming one of the greatest civilizations on Earth during that period, while Europe with its solar calendar languished in its own "Dark Ages". Similarly, the Chinese Empire, which used a mathematical lunisolar calendar, prospered, also becoming a great civilization.
I completely disagree that people of the Renaissance would have changed an inherited lunisolar calendar into a solar calendar. They might have improved it in light of their greater knowledge of astronomical parameters, but they would not have changed it. A solar calendar is not inherently superior to a lunisolar calendar. Indeed, it is decidedly inferior because something as obvious as the Moon's phases is ignored. You underestimate the power of tradition (or religion). It was European tradition, or economic and military power during and after the Renaissance, which caused the Gregorian calendar to be adopted worldwide. Its 'accuracy' or lack thereof was no consideration whatsoever. Either the Julian calendar or an inherited lunisolar calendar would have been accepted worldwide if Europe was still using either today. The modern version of the Chinese lunisolar calendar is exquisitely tuned to modern astronomy, whereas most other calendars make do with cyclic approximations. Of course, this makes it quite complicated to calculate vis-a-vis cyclic calendars.
Definition vs approximation depends on the calendar. The numbers you cite are inherent to a particular calendar, but the only calendars I know of which define astronomical parameters via numbers were the traditional Chinese calendar and the several Hindu calendars, where everything was numerical because these calendars included mathematical astronomy within themselves. Basically, an entire book was needed to describe each calendar. Their numbers were not approximations, they were definitions. Other calendars don't include mathematical astronomy, certainly not the Gregorian or Revised Julian calendars. Your numbers are the result of applying mathematics to the rules of the calendars, the rules themselves do not even mention those numbers. The papal bull Inter gravissimas is the source of the Gregorian rules, without any mention of 365.2425 days. Because these two calendars do not include mathematical astronomy, their numbers are necessarily approximations of the astronomical parameters which the calendar supposedly follows. The Persian calendar is slightly different. It could be based on a cycle or an astronomical parameter. The Omar Khayyam rule which you mentioned was a cycle, hence the number was an approximation. But the present Iranian calendar requires that the true vernal equinox occur within 12 hours of the midnight beginning of Norouz (New Year's Day), hence it cannot be an approximation—it is a definition, though not a number per se because the calendar does not include mathematical astronomy within itself. The French Republican calendar has a similar situation—either its New Year's Day was determined by some cycle or it was the day of the autumnal equinox. Some of these matters have been discussed on the CALNDR-L e-mail list, which you should join if you have not done so. All the world's calendars are discussed. Unfortunately, that includes endless discussions of proposed reform calendars, which, for the most part, are advocated solely by their authors.
I did not touch the Cunningham and Starr reference because I did not want to stir up that hornet's nest. I do not know whether they have any credibility or authority.
I was going to include a discussion of the vernal equinox, but I find that it is a bit more convoluted than I had thought.
Joe Kress 07:45, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree, that calendar's accuracy should be discussed extensively in calendar's article, whereas in the era article a short mention or footnote is sufficient, however also inevitable to round out the era article. (I prepared this reply yesterday. Like it wasn't finished, I didn't store immediately. This morning, I see you "removed footnote per talk" ?!?)

definition vs. approximation

First, one trivial preliminary remark, only for avoiding all misunderstandings: Certainly none calendar system never defines the tropical year nor it can try it. This is an obvious banality.
However each calendar system, ipso facto, inherently, always defines a length of time interval, the respective calendar year. Whether this number of days is explicitly mentioned (in the case of the Gregorian calendar) in "Inter gravissimas" or not is completely irrelevant, since every twelve years old schoolboy, mastering elementary basic arithmetic, can accomplish the calculation of the inherent, underlying definition of this calendar year.

Now, the comparison with the tropical year or the VE year is quite more difficult for the reasons we all know. Especially it supposes to dispose of a good value of this one. The Gregorian calendar is obviously based on the so-called "Alfonsinischen Tafeln" dating from 1252, giving 365d 5h 49min. 16s for the VE year. But before the "Rudolphinischen Tafeln" of Johannes Kepler in 1627, the knowledge of the length of the V.E.Y. – regarded till our contemporary time as identical to the TY – stayed in various not all-too accurate approximations. 1627, i.e. 45 years after the Gregorian reform of 1582.

In summary: I can confirm you, that calendar systems are also "approximations of the astronomical parameters". But at first they define the calendar year. This always and absolutely independent of any astronomical accuracy, independent of their respective ability to synchronise the calendar year and the astronomical realities the closest one possible.

Sadly, I don't know, as well as you, the "traditional Chinese calendar and the several Hindu calendars". Perhaps you can give me some good, study worth Internet sources?
Thanks for the CALNDR-L link, which I ignored. But certainly I will not sign on there, exactly one for the reasons you indicated.

At last to: "The Omar Khayyam rule which you mentioned was a cycle, hence the number was an approximation." et sqq.
No, it's not a clear definition, but an empirical proceeding, which needs "high-priests" – here in the form of astronomers – to predict when the next solstice/equinox will occur.

  • This can pose even serious problems, if this one occurs accidentally very close to midnight.
  • On the other hand for the past, historians always have to consult listings.

That's the reason why neither the Persian Norouz nor the old French Republican calendars for example can not be considered to be modern, scientific calendar systems.

accuracy contributes to its acceptance

For this topo, let's share our discussion into "solar vs. lunisolar" and more "accurate vs. less accurate".

solar vs. lunisolar

We have to remind that – I'll say this less for you than for third readers. I know very well that you, Joe Kress, are a great specialist in (not only) calendar systems – the about twelve new moon per year are entirely a coincidence, without any cause and effect wrt. the "year of seasons", i.e. the tropical year. For this reason, the proceeding of the old Egyptians: to liberate the calendar year from the old, auxiliary new moon counting and to orient towards a trivial day counting was progressive, "modern" and scientific.

Even a Metonic lunisolar calendar with a better synchronisation with regard to the year of seasons, however maintains a false semblance. (Also this better synchronisation can only be accomplished after the cognition of the TY.) Therefore, it has well been the old Egyptians who via their calendar definition found the very first scientific approximation of the tropical year: 365 days exactly one. Later on, because they maintained their calendar year definition unchanged during millennia. So, once more, the old Egyptians found, could calculate, the second scientific approximation of the tropical year in human kind's history: 365.25 days. This value was the recognised calendar-year-value till 1582, October 4.

Quite an other question is the emotional or, as the case may be, religious relatedness to the lunar calendar system. Self-evident I have – I suppose, I hope just like you – no any sympathy for astrology. Also wrt. the moon – which has of course real gravitational influences to earth – I behold all lunar horticultural rules e.g. for unproved superstitions.

Notwithstanding, just like you, I suppose, I like the moon. Highty-tighty! Today it's the waning gibbous moon.
The Gregorian calendar has the advantage, that it connects both, the solar and the lunar calendar. (I studied years ago the conventional Gregorian new moon's dates – listed in not very well-known tables – and compared with the astronomical dates, and I found that even more than 400 years after, these dates are quite good, rather close.)

However, any modern, scientific, civil calendar must be solar.

accurate vs. less accurate

The study of calendar systems and their respective astronomical accuracy is a section in the science of chronology.
Chronology is well a science. Presently it is universally considered as an auxiliary science of history and astronomy.

If I resume your second and third paragraphs, as well as what Squell said before, you assert in substance:
Science can be false, as long as none remark it!

Aye, perhaps you both are right! Till none remark it, often hidden errors stayed in many sciences during very long times. Till someone perceived it.

This someone was my friend Michael Florencetime, who clearly recognised in 1989, that a correct scientific chronology must first define a common year zero. Quite not for instance a leap year zero. This is a fact. Like Michael is also a poet, etymological: "s.o. who acts", he decided to define this civil, historical and astronomical year zero, 1½ year later with a saw!

This definition, because it is the correct one – the only way to have, at last, an accurate, continuous chronology – will stay in history of humankind.
This, completely independent of the length of interval, the ponderous world will take to recognise it and to understand that the Cassini chronology now is scientifically refuted.
(A religious chronicle can't neither be refuted nor scientifically confirmed. Each one who would enterprise to proof this or that, ipso facto, would disqualify himself as scientist.)

Let's go back to the my "argument that the Gregorian calendar's accuracy contributes to its [present worldwide] acceptance":
You wrote: "That drift was obviously no hindrance to agricultural activity because Muslims not only did not starve during the Middle Ages, but prospered..."
and: "Similarly, the Chinese Empire, which used a mathematical lunisolar calendar, prospered, also becoming a great civilization."

I never would contest that. Indeed the Islamic civilisation "becoming one of the greatest civilizations on Earth" during the European Middle-Ages. Also Arabic astronomers, at these times, were among the most preeminent of their time. Nevertheless, it was completely prohibited for these astronomers to propose any new calendar system since it was the Prophet himself who once explicitly stated in the Coran, that the twelve-moon rule has to be applied without exception. As you know, the Islamic tradition not distinguishes between religion and civil society. So any reform in calendar was excluded, albeit science prospered. Also the Chinese Empire prospered, notwithstanding they used the older lunar calendar system.

After Middle-Ages, during the Renaissance and the Early Modern Time European men turned towards sciences. SI is one of the most famous results of this paradigm shift. It seems me completely excluded that any hypothetical inherited lunisolar calendar would have survived these times up to nowadays to be still recognised internationally!

You wrote: "A solar calendar is not inherently superior to a lunisolar calendar." I don't agree. Scientifically it is! Because the aim of a modern calendar system is last but not least to count the "year of seasons". Scientifically, the moon has no part in the recurrent year of seasons. Absolutely no part! Therefore, if we want to count the "recurrent years of seasons" – in our scientific present – we have to exclude categorically any reference to the moon phases in the length of the year. (Months and weeks as approximated references to the older lunar system are acceptable, since they are less important sub-units.)

But we can speculate and argue as long as we want, one fact remains: The present internationally recognised calendar system is a solar system.
This should be not a coincidence, but a result of common acceptation, because everyone knows that the tropical year and the solar calendar are related.
Lunar calendars, with sometimes thirteen lunar-months years, are auxiliary means to simulate the accuracy with regard to the consistent solar calendar.

All this supports: apparently the fact that the solar Gregorian calendar has been considered to be astronomically correct contributed to its acceptance.

Paul Martin 05:11, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

I haven't responded to this until now because I don't think this amount of discussion is a good way to debate a relatively minor point. About the only thing at stake here is the Wikipedia policy of no original research.

Your argument, I think, boils down to that, if the muslim world had assumed the dominant position during the industrial age, their calendar would not have been as succesful as a world calendar because it is purely lunar; agreed, but the logical result would have been the usage of a solar calendar coupled with a Anno Hijri count, as in Iran. We would have soon be celebrating the start of the year 1385.

In any case, WP:NOR requires us to not just construct a plausible argument, but to make verifiable statements. We do have real life evidence (the Persian calendar) of an epoch being used with different calendrical systems, as well as calendrical systems ignored even though they are more astronomically correct, which suggests that the link you claim isn't there.

Of course the dominance of the christian epoch has everything to do with the christian calendar being the de facto standard; this deserves mention, but it is a stretch to suggest that this is due to any reason other than that the culture which promulgated it is the most dominant one in other areas as well. squell 01:06, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Squell for your arguing reply,

Indeed, that's my argument:
Sciences, while in ancient times prospered, during the Middle-Ages, for different reasons, lied idle in Europe.
Since Renaissance times the thinkers in Europe fortunately reappropriated sciences.

[The fact that afterwards and surely up to nowadays, the results of these cognitions alltoo often are used to
make "quick money" without any other considerations is another problem what we can't discuss right here.]

This rediscovery of sciences in Europe during the AD 15th century is a well-known and accepted fact and not a hypothesis of an "original research".
Lastly even the Gregorian calendar reform is a result therefrom. Rome knew, people won't eternally accept a calendar giving false results. After the Reformation and in the historical context of the Counter-Reformation – yet armed with new, better cognitions in astronomy – the Roman Catholic Church behold auspicious the end of the 16th c. to reinforce its intellectual and spiritual hegemony. Rome placed the "bet". Rome won the bet. Even if some protestant and anglican states in Europe made 170 years and more for this understanding.

In other words:
Not only any lunar civil calendar would not have survived up to nowadays – I'm glad that on this point we are in agreement – but also any preserved Julian calendar. What happened if Rome would not have become acting in 1582? I can't answer you on this historic fiction. But impossible that the Julian calendar would have survived up to our present scientific times! Everywhere in sciences, the mankind aspires incessantly toward higher precisions in all standards. Also that is not a hypothesis of new original researches, but this is prouvable.

An error in calendar of nowadays almost 11 minutes and 15 seconds yearly, would never, never be accepted by any modern, reasonable citizen.
If the Christian Era would have remained in Sosigenes calendar rule, then the internationally recognised era would not be the AD era anymore and this since long times. That's sure.

The actual de facto standard of the Christian Era is due to both the world-wide dominance of Europe (traditionally counting in Anni Domini) since the end of Middle Ages and to the fact that the Gregorian calendar rules makes that the Christian solar year is in error of "only" 27s/year. Because everyone knows that the Christian calendar can't be modified successfully without Rome, the world hitherto consoled itself: This error is "only" almost 27 milliard nanoseconds per year.

-- Paul Martin 09:50, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

PS.  However, I'm astonished that you qualifie accuracy in calendar as a "relatively minor point".
Does this mean that you juge it acceptable to live in contradiction to the astronomical realities, respectively in ignorancy?

What's the title of this anyway?

My comment after reading the discussions, then the article are as follows. Seems like some of the article is off topic or beyond scope. One reason there is so much debate is, I think people are loosing context. There are facts on both sides of almost all the issues, in many cases both side’s facts are correct, that is because the context is the issue, until that is resolved we will not achieve a satisfactory resolution to the discussion or the article. I am not as educated or knowledgeable as most people who have contributed so I will go with a few simple observations.

Is this an article about Anno Domini? Or is it an article about the western history of calendars? If it is about the former and not the latter then the depth could be reduced some. Possibly a separate article on the histories of calendars. Western and Eastern and why not while we’re at it even French. In history “to the victor go the spoils” so with the Roman dominance at a critical time in history, and the rise of the Catholic church in power and as the keepers of knowledge and history in the West it is no surprise that their thumbprint is on many things. I am not meaning to make a judgment on right or wrong, just acknowledging it is how it is.

When someone goes to the Catholic/Christian article, that is not the place to discuss Buddhism or Hinduism and their relative merits. I want to say with much less ferocity than the previous sentence that the synonym part of the article does not seem to belong. Especially the C.E. it is an accepted alternative but this is the Anno Domini article. Mentioning C.E. with a hyperlink seems adequate. That’s my input please think about scope and remember it is about Anno Domini not a debate about the merits of A.D. vs. C.E. Baddog 06:13 02/11/06 CST

I think you're confusing calendars with dating styles. This article doesn't discuss a calendar, but a year numbering system. In that context it is relevant to discuss its history and the schemes it replaced. What else is there to discuss? Second, replacing the terse summary of CE with a simple "See also", as you seem to be suggesting, would probably not do justice to the gravity of that subject and its relation to AD. squell 15:06, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

OK I tried, I appreciate your input, I acknowledge my shortcomings, and I guess I was wrong! In an article dealing with Anno Domini I assumed it might be about AD but I guess I’m wrong. With all do respect to you I now say, “This article doesn't discuss a calendar, but a year numbering system” In my nieborhood that is a calandor! If it is different in yours fine. Come on! Still this article is Anno Domini, I bet that burns you.You are either an aithiest or born again. I have no more coments! simply you do not get it!!! BADDOG 02/11/10:10 CST !!

Well, hard to argue with that. But it's a pity you don't take the oppertunity to enlighten the others reading this what exactly AD means, since clearly, they too are missing something. squell 20:56, 11 February 2006 (UTC)'s NPOV Tag

On 03:04, 14 February 2006 put a NPOV tag in the article with the summery comment:
BC/AD is an outmoded dating system increasingly fading from scholarship - and yet this article acts as if BCE/CE is an anemic PC "synonym".

The concerned paragraph currently states:

Common Era
Anno Domini is sometimes referred to as the Common Era (CE) instead. This term is often preferred by those who want to avoid the association with the Christian era. For example, Cunningham and Starr (1998) write that "B.C.E./C.E. ... do not presuppose faith in Christ and hence are more appropriate for interfaith dialog than the conventional B.C./A.D." When the People's Republic of China abolished the Republic of China era in 1949, it adopted Western years, calling that era gōngyuán, 公元, which literally means Common Era.

Hi User,

Primarily I didn't contribute on this paragraph. Recently user Squell made some changes, but the content is older.
By naming the PR of China, Squell hushed up all the former East European states from GDR to USSR which habitually used CE instead of AD, "to avoid the [explicit] association with the Christian era". You can call this era – counting from AD I – however you want. Nevertheless, this era is and will be forevermore the Christian era.

The article speaks about "interfaith dialog" etc. But in my eyes this (ex-)CE is indeed – like you say it – "an anemic political correctness synonym", an inconsistent "euphemism".
In your summery you quoted the word synonym. What does this mean? That AD and CE (in this sense) are synonym, can't be seriously contested.

You wrote "outmoded" and "increasingly": Do you have therefore statistical or other proofs or is it a very personal impression, opinion?

Your NPOV tag seems me not justified.
Quite another question is, whether our new C.E. is not really "AD minus 1792"!  (cf. my user page)
In this sense, user, a good continuation of our current year CE 214 also for you.

-- Paul Martin 09:17, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Should this article really contain an inclusive list of all countries that use CE? No, that would be Common Era. The PR of China seems the prime example of non-Jewish usage of CE, however. (Although it would be pretty hilarious if someone started advocating in favour of CE by using the claim that 'That's how the GDR did it!';)
I have simply removed the NPOV tag. This article is not about the common era. Note that my edits to the Common Era section were an expansion of how you (Paul Martin) refactored the older content, so please don't hint that I am the one responsible for it — I am getting sick and tired of these continuing rounds of war edits by people who feel they need to prove a point.
Also, I'd like to ask Paul Martin why he has insisted on the latest edits he made to this article. Both Joe Kress and I have voiced discontent over them previously, and you have pretty much re-instated them. And at that, most of those edits were to parts which were not really in need of any repair. Since they've been already discussed and do not appear to reflect consensus, I hope you have a convincing argument. squell 12:22, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
For the first point, you misunderstood. The mention of the former practices in some other states was an argument against the pretended terms of "outmoded" and "increasingly".
In no case this was a disguised criticism vs. you. No, this article should not "really contain an inclusive list of all countries that use CE". That's neither necessary nor required.
Point taken. You seem to have had the opposing intended meaning for hushed up than the one I read into it.
Thanks. Indeed, after verification – like I'm not a native English-speaker, worse, I digged out my active English not long since – the term "not mentioned" would be much more appropriated and most notably less ambiguous.
Perhaps you was right by removing simply the tag. Me, generally, I try to have at least an exchange with the user placing it, except in cases of obvious ill will or vandalism.
With my edit on 21:56, 20 January 2006 I simply shifted the Common Era mention under the new title Synonyms along with the old content of the former article Anno Salutis redirected by me up to here. Never, never I "refactored" anything in this part, not an iota!  Effectively this point is provable. I won't see you "sick and tired", but the contrary.
I have become rather pro-active on this article with respect to NPOV. In the past, I also have quickly reverted edits that only moved the Common Era section out of the introduction — or, inversely, tried to make it more prominent — because I deem such edits to be only motivated by a desire to promote a certain point of view. On the other hand, your edit (which also moved that section), while I object to some of it, was clearly a substantial effort to improve the article.
By the same reasoning, I think it is improper to slap a POV notice on an article, without evidently reading the talk page (Mention of CE, is at the top) or leaving an explanation there. And by his edit summary, I judged it being motivated by a desire to push a point of view. If anyone disagrees with that, they can always re-add the tag — hopefully accompanying it with an explanation what exactly is being POV. Wasting discussion on every quick reversion would be a waste of time, I think it is better to be bold. squell 19:18, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand you. Not all discussions at Wikipedia are "enjoyable". If already we made efforts, it's necessary to stay on a good level. If not it's an awful bore.
-- Paul Martin 20:55, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
For the point: "accuracy contributes to its acceptance". Joe Kress let me (here above) a long reply on 07:45, 25 January. I prepared my own reply in the evening of Jan. 27th, which was ready at 98%. Too tired to finish it, I decided to go to bed. In the morning of Jan 28th, I was very disappointed to see that Joe already "removed footnote per talk" without waiting – not even 72 hours – for my reply. However, I even not started an edit war (what I detest like you), but in the opposite I waited patiently for a reply.
On February 11, finally I re-edited the article, exactly two weeks after my long reply with new and consistent arguments, stayed without any reply in a not-closed talk.
So, it was my right to do like I did.
So long Squell, I hope that my arguments are convincing.  -- Paul Martin 16:48, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
PS.  I agree with you that the youngest "merge proposal" was not helpful.  Xcuse for the delay. This was however my first edit since you posted the message.

Merge from Before Christ

What was always a redirect to this article, Before Christ has since been started up as a proper article, but mostly duplicates information in this article. It has been proposed that it be merged here; could some other editors please jump into the discussion on Talk:Before Christ? Thanks! dewet| 11:14, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

NO MERGER - Before Christ (BC) is the opposite or antipode of Anno Domini (AD) each deserve their own separate article. This merger request is as unacceptable as requesting a merger between the North Pole and South Pole articles. The Before Christ article has the potential to expand and that is all that is required. Cordially SirIsaacBrock 11:25, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Suggest restricting this discussion to Talk:Before Christ. squell 12:21, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

No need to merge these articles. The concepts merit separate discussion. Metamagician3000 00:26, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

After Death and Before Christ are both historically and culturally incorrect because After Death is not specific enough to clarify that you are talking about Christ. Before Christ is cullturally incorrect because only three cultures belive in Christ. They are major cultures and are widespread, but you need a title that is more universal to incorporate all of the people in the world, be they white, black, green, blue, orange, yellow, or red. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 00:22 8 October 2006 UTC.

Discussion was finalised, with only the original editor dissenting. No reasoning was provided for the original splitting. dewet| 12:43, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Inline citations

This article is in need of inline citations. 21:34, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Could you point us to some sections which need them? squell 12:59, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

seconds per Year?

"The real (mean) tropical year is now very close to 365.2421875 days i.e. 27s/year shorter" - Is this right??? Should It not be "The real (mean) tropical year is now very close to 365.2421875 days i.e. 27s shorter", only??? Manuel Anastácio 14:03, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

what is the difference in your two above sentences.nids 14:48, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Is Common Era MORE religious than Anno Domini?

Some may argue Common Era is MORE religious - because they apparently do not realize that it is not proposed as a way getting others to adopt a dating system (centered around Jesus's incarnation) because they SHOULD adopt it - but as a name that is more acceptable AFTER the fact of the adoption of the year numbering by other cultures just so that they can use some dating system in common --JimWae 04:43, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

This talk page is reserved for discussions regarding the contents of the Anno Domini page, not on moral/religious issues concerning a totally different article, "common era". And no, "common era" (which IMO doesn't even exist) is not more religious than anno Domini, it's just hypocritical and stupid142.176.56.105 04:52, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

You obviously have not been following some of the very recent edits to the page. Please try to keep your POV out of the article. Your comments about it being hypocritical violate your own declared restrictions for what should appear here. --JimWae 04:58, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Common era is hypocritical and that's not my "POV". It is simply a cover of the AD system without acknowledgment of such, to offer non-Christians some false sense that the World Calendar is not based in Christianity. If you argue that it's used only to remove connotations with "in the year of Our Lord", that could be accomplished with "Christian Era" rather than "Common era"...calling it "common" is hypocritical in the sense of using the Christian calendar without acknowledgement. "Christian calendar" wouldn't be hypocritical. Not to mention, if non-Christians don't want to be saying "our Lord", either deal with it or make your own calendar and see how far that gets in the public sphere. Stop stealing other calendars and pretending it's something else! 05:22, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Who is offering this to other cultures? Most are adopting the number for the year on their own. I really do not care if you think CE means Common Era, Christian Era, or Christina Era - either way, usually only the abbreviation gets used & it is less offensive than AD. There are lots of non-Xn calendars, but there is one calendar very much in common usage around the world. It would be very disruptive (& meet even more resistance) to try to get the whole world to adopt some newly "invented" calendar. No matter what calendar is used, there has to be a pivotal year & any year chosen would be seen as showing preference to some culture, so CE is the best alternative we have. --JimWae 06:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Why is everything about "less offensive" with you cultural sensitivists? Don't you realize that if we brand everything to be "less offensive" that there would be no uniqueness left in anything at all? The reason that this is 2006 is because Jesus was (traditionally believed to have been) born 2,006 years ago, why deny this for the mere purpose of "cultural sensitivity" or "political correctness"? As that you don't care if I call CE "Christian era", nor do I care if you use the Christian calendar or how you refer to it, but this does not mean you, or others with your views can superimpose your silly euphemism over the AD system. Can you please tell me how using AD and BC is more offensive and wrong than having Christmas Day, the celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ a federal holiday in the United States? No, you can't, because that is just as POV. The reason they do it is because it is tradition and accepted among the public. CE and BCE are unrecognizable and have too much opposition to ever become mainstream142.176.56.105 07:11, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
First ever edit on Wiki, so please excuse formatting or other errors here. I just wanted to drop in that my personal experience (I live in the UK) is that use of the BCE/CE form is both widespread and well-understood here. I feel that to imply they have "too much opposition to ever become mainstream" is perhaps a little strong. Just my two-penneth... 04:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
My experience is that most people (outside of academic circles and the schoolroom) have never heard of CE and BCE. Your mileage may vary, I guess. -- 00:24, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

This is not about denying anything - it is about not forcing the Xn view on non-Xns (many of whom are very much within Western culture), no matter how surreptitiously. --JimWae 07:28, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I would agree with the statement that not very many people do not know what CE and BCE is, and that it probably would be pointless to change BC and AD to CE and BCE. It would just cause controversy and confuse people. Henriyugi 20:50, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
"probably would be pointless to change BC and AD to CE and BCE" how convenient!!! You get your advertising for Christ and the Christian God just because "it's pointless"! ...your arguments are irrefutable!
The problem is with religious teachers who impose the usage of BC and AD. I really can't believe that now, at the level of evolution we are, people still believe in a genie of some sort. And THIS IS AN ENCYCLOPEDIA!!!! SCIENCE STUFF ONLY!!!! UNDERSTAND THIS???
PS: Man I'm glad weekdays didn't get named after Christian Saints. Why? Because they are currently named after Roman gods (Romance countries) and Norse gods (Germanic countries). And they are now part of mythology, while many people still consider Christianity a religion and not mythology as well.
PS2 :D : If you want to respond to this, logical arguments only. None of that "Let there be light" Genesis ...i don't know the verse number. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:46, 13 May 2007 (UTC).


SparkNotes[6] and WordNet[7], both North American English sources, say "A.D." has to come before the date. Bayerischermann 20:45, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

As someone associated with ancient history, I am aware that it is customary for "AD" to precede the date (i.e. - AD 400), but that "AD" placed after a date is equally acceptable for grammatical reasons, such as being equal to the "BC" counterpart (i.e. - 500 BC - 200 AD). It's not that big of a deal142.176.115.107 22:38, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
But why is just "in North American English variant"? It seems like it would be universal. Bayerischermann 02:15, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


According to the article, BC stands for Before Christ, but does anyone know what BC stood for before English came around? Did BC only come into usage after the English language was invented? --YankeeDoodle14 22:12, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

??? "BC" is used only in English because it is an English acronym.--Kwame Nkrumah 13:43, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Before BC was used for English, "aCn" was used in Latin, which stands for "ante Christum natum" — "before the birth of Christ". — `CRAZY`(lN)`SANE` [discl.] 17:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
lit. ante Christum natum means: Before Christ was born; Lostcaesar 17:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Are you sure? According to the Ante Christum Natum article it's "Before the birth of Christ", maybe you can correct it there if you're sure it's wrong. — `CRAZY`(lN)`SANE` [discl.] 17:49, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Fixed it, Lostcaesar 20:03, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
The aCn article had a sense translation, not a literal translation, and a genitive form is given in the article. In any event, please be careful about deleting references and not mentioning it in the edit summary. Gimmetrow 20:56, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I deleted the ref since I changed the content of the sentence which was referenced. It would be unfair to the reference to change the sense of the passage and yet leave the ref there. The article does give a genitive alternate rendering, though I suspect this was not actually used since the former (and name of the article) sounds much more like Latin form. Lostcaesar 21:32, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think I agree. I'm glad you edited this, in fact. Google search for the genitive form gave 14 hits, vs. 25000 for the other form. I've also restored your translation as closer to the far more common form. The reference only shows that ACN is used, not sure why you thought the context changed. OK? Gimmetrow 21:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Really I just felt uncomfortable changing the text and leaving the ref, especially since I didn't have the ref handly to check its content, that's all. The article looks good, thanks for the help; Lostcaesar 21:45, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Use it

I recommend converting all dates in the wikki to BC/AD notation. I believe it to be both more accurate and easier to read than the recent politically correct terms BCE and CE. I do not like the re-writing of many text books to include the CE BCE garbage as it is just a recent 'invention' meant to make some people feel better. September 7, 2006 AD - unsigned, first edit ever, 2006-SEP-07 by User:Jcforge

Your preferences are fine for your school term papers. Wikipedia style guide uses both - and edits that change era notations (sch as your did on Zoroastrianism without building consensus violate wikipedia policy & can result in being banned --JimWae 18:51, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

So what about the initial change from AD to the CE (complete BS IMO)? Would that too, have been subject to discussion, as I saw none present in it. And I am no longer in school, I have graduated and earned degrees; BS in Biology and a BA in Chemistry and a minor in history from North Carolina State University But thanks for the backhanded complement. Jcforge 18:58, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

I'M CONFUSED!!! just curious when the politically correct version of BC... hold on... sorry...BCE and CE (for AD, RIGHT?) started...??? when on earth did all this change take place? so i was watching TV the other night, and saw some reference to some historical event that happened in "such-n-such" year BCE. i immediately called my husband from the other room & asked what the E was for. he had no idea. i was really confused (and still am)... that was a few weeks ago, but i was just on my temple's website looking at the calendar of upcoming meditations & saw a history given of one of the meditations & BCE or CE came up as part of the date, and i said to myself "THERE IT IS AGAIN! WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT?" so i came on here, wikipedia, for an answer... though really didn't get one. why is it that things you grow up with in everyday life suddenly CHANGE into unknown terms? i mean, i still call things: toilet paper (rather than "bathroom tissue")..., chairman/chairmen, actors, black people, white people, BC/AD (even though i'm not a christian & never have been), DIED (instead of "passed away" or "expired") i mean, for most of these things, it's just goofy to change them into something less human. i don't really see the BC/AD thing as really changing on basis of "political correctness" as most of the changes based on "political correctness" are hysterical & merit much laughter in their new terms. but BC/AD? i never saw it coming. sure, i gave it much thought, but that was just always what it was called. i have never been a christian, but i still didn't care one way or the other. i think all these nutty changes are crazy. i don't really mind BC/AD being changed to BCE/CE (right?) but i'll still call them BC & AD. that's what i've learnt over the past 40 years. it's like changing the word "BREAD" to the word "HYRMROK". i'll still call it BREAD. just like all the other word/term changes. how come noone ever consults the public before they change a word or term? how annoying & selfish of the word-changin elite! anyway... no, really, when did this change come about? eta: i don't necessarily find the actual representation of time to be entirely accurate in terms of BC/AD. but neither would be BCE/CE. so my slothlike objection or ridicule of the BCE/CE isn't based on accuracy. hell, i don't care what's actually accurate. history happened in the PAST. and we'll all DIE here soon enough, so what does it matter when? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

You have hit the nail on the head. CE started out as a tiny movement. The problem is, nowadays, as soon as any small movement reaches 5%, they suddenly think they are the majority, and the other 95% are the minority. Especially when the 5% think of themselves as being in the "corridors of power", who decide "behind closed doors" what everyone else is going to start using all of a sudden. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
yeah, it seems odd that a few miniscule can dictate the new vocabulary of the entire population (or at least try). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
once again i ask, when did this begin? i know i've been out of touch the past couple of years, but ??? when did this change take place? i've asked some others who aren't as out-of-touch as i, they haven't even heard of BCE/CE. hmmmm.... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
See Common Era and here. (But I've never heard it called Current Era, as the Wikipedia article claims). -- Jim Douglas 08:00, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Other eras in official use

I believe this section should be moved to and merged with the Calendars article because a reader is more likely to look for it there. A cross-reference should remain in this article --Gerry Ashton 18:15, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Herod's death at 4 BC

Gerry Ashton asked me to explain why I placed {{fact}} on "Most historians fix Herod's death in the year 4 BC."

I have read a few books and web sites that show evidence for Herod dying around 4 BC. Generally, I agree with the 4 to early 3 BC dates. I think that portion of the article would be better with proper citations. Copying the ref for ISBN 0-86554-582-0 and ISBN 0-94-5657-87-0 in Herod the Great would probably be good. --Midnightcomm 03:53, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Since Midnightcomm placed the fact tag, I rewrote the section (which had only had general references to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke) so that it now has specific citations to Blackburn and Holford-Strevens, and also Doggett. I have neither Beyer nor Martin, and I don't live close to a major library, so I will not be able to cite those authors. I note that the reference to Martin is to the entire book; the Herod the Great article would be improved if someone found out what the relevant pages are. In any case, I believe the current passage in Anno Domini is an improvement over what was there before. --Gerry Ashton 18:01, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Address "After Death"

The article should probably address the common misconception that AD refers to "After Death". I know it already states that in the Trivia section; but that's beside the point. It seems like a very common misconception, and disserves more attention. Possible having 1 sentence in the Introduction stating that AD actualy stands for _____, instead of "After Death".

Gestation period

Did Dionysius have any reason to NOT assume that Jesus' gestation period was 9 months? Would not J's conception & birth both occur within 1 year. There's been a lot of fuss lately about whether 1 BC was year of birth or year of conception --JimWae 00:42, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Whether or not conception and birth occur in the same year depend not only on how long gestation is, but the dates of conception, birth, and beginning of the year. It is widely understood that the Annunciation and Nativity are celebration dates, rather than historical dates. A person researching these issues might use the ceremonial dates, or might attempt to estimate the actual dates. Also, there were many dates in use for the beginning of the year. The Alexandrian computists of Easter table used the Diocletian era, which they treated as begining on August 29. So for example, if the conception was celebrated March 25, a new year began on August 29, and the Nativity was celebrated December 25, conception and birth would occur in different years. --Gerry Ashton 01:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Did Dionysius use a date of birth in his calculations or was he more concerned to just count the full years? He was working on Easter, not Xmas, right? --JimWae 01:34, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

If you look at the article on Dionysius Exiguus you will find references with the Latin version of his table and arguments, and translations. In his first argument, he wrote "If you want to find out which year it is since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ...."[8] Apparently he was counting from the Incarnation, whatever that meant to him.
Dionysius does not mention the date of the Incarnation, not the month, not the day, not the AD year, and not the Diocletian year. The only ways to relate his years to other systems is (1) to note that the first year of his table, AD 532, follows the last year of the table he based his work on, Diocletian 247, and (2) to note that his cover letter is dated both AD 525 and as the consulate of Probus Junior.

Epoch is nativity or conception?

This is a copy of a discussion which occured on User talk: Gerry Ashton

Hi, I reverted those references to "conception of" Christ. Did you base those changes on some particular reference? The Catholic Encyclopedia is very clear that the calculation is based on the presumed date of birth. (Which of course we all know now is incorrect.) -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 00:03, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Please read Anno Domini#History of Anno Domini. Take note of the reference Blackburn & Holford-Strevens (2003, 778–779). Furthermore, Blackburn & Holford-Strevens refer to "Dionysius' Incarnation year" on p. 780. On P. 778 they write "if Dionysius, whose calendrical rules or argumenta make September, not January, the beginning of the year, treated incarnation as synonymous with birth (as his early followers, including Bede do) rather than conception...", indicating it is an open question whether Dionysius considered the conception or the birth to be the Incarnation. --Gerry Ashton 00:20, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
The glossary of Blackburn & Holford-Strevens (p. 881) contains this entry:
  • Incarnation era: an era reckoned from the supposed date of Christ's Incarnation; usually that of the year AD, otherwise called the Nativity, Christian, or Common era, but in an Alexandrian, Coptic, or Ethiopic context an era reckonned from 29 August AD 8. (The distinction between Incarnation and Nativity was not drawn until the late ninth century, when in some places the Incarnation epoch was identified with Christ's conception, i.e. the Annunciation on 25 March; see 'Annunciation style'.) --Gerry Ashton 00:36, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Gerry, I'm not sure what the term conception would even mean when applied to the traditional story of the genesis of Christ. I won't revert your changes; I don't do edit-wars. I've asked Joe Kress for his opinion. -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 00:37, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
If one didn't think the term conception was appropriate, Annunciation could be used instead. By the way, I didn't pick the word, Blackburn & Holford-Strevens did. --Gerry Ashton 01:19, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed that the Catholic Encyclopedia actually uses both terms (Incarnation and birth) in the same paragraph ("...first to initiate the practice of calculating years from the birth of Christ" and " them by the Era of the Incarnation..."). Whatever ends up being decided, the Dionysius Exiguus#Anno Domini section should also be kept consistent with the Anno Domini and Common Era articles. -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 01:41, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

An online Latin text and translation of Dionysius' Easter table and arguments [9] quotes the beginning of his first argument as follows:

Si nosse vis quotus sit annus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi...
If you want to find out which year it is since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ... (emphasis added)

So it would seem an editor who wanted to use only the word birth would either have to challenge this web editon of Dionysius, or prove that birth and incarnation were synonyms during Dionysius' time. --Gerry Ashton 01:58, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

  • and one who wanted to use conception would have to show that incarnation meant conception - and there is the further problem that wikipeida cannot say Jesus was incarnated - just that he was believed to be incarnated.
  • as I recall, Dionysius counted & reported the years from the founding of Rome - and there is no evidence yet that he was concerned about when the year began --JimWae 02:39, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I see now from that he drew up a table of years. Anyone have access to them? --JimWae 02:44, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree that an editor who wanted to use only birth or only conception would have to demonstrate an exclusive meaning, otherwise both possibilities should be presented. I also agree that there is nothing in the translations of Dionysius that indicate what date he considered the year to begin. However, his Easter table and arguments do not mention AUC (years from the founding of Rome) and that is confirmed by Blackburn and Holford-Strevens p. 778 who write:
The existing Alexandrian table being due to expire in 247 Diocletian (AD 530/1, hence current at Easter [5]31), Dionysius began with 532, thus instituting the era that we use today. However, nowhere in his exposition of his tabel does Dionysius relate his epoch to any other dating system, whether consulate, Olympiad, year of the world, or regnal year of Augustus; much less does he explain or justify the underlying date, or even claim it as his own discovery, but treats it as an unproblematic fact, corresponding to current knowledge or belief.
--Gerry Ashton 02:59, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Two versions of Dionysius' Easter table are available on the web, and are given in the References or See also sections of Dionysius Exiguus. One,, gives both Latin and English. Another,, gives only the table, not the arguments, is only in English, and numbers are given only in Arabic numerals, not Roman numerals. --Gerry Ashton 03:06, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Year of our Lord versus Year of the Lord

Which one of those is the accepted English translation? I've always understood it to mean Year of our Lord, but the article lead says Year of the Lord. -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 17:40, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

The Latin words Anno Domini do not contain any element meaning "our". It means literally, IN (the) year of (the) Lord. Other possible translations would include "In A year of A Lord", but that's obviously not what is meant. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 18:09, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I understand that the Latin only explicitly includes the words "year" and "Lord". But I've always seen it rendered into English as "In the year of our Lord". FWIW, that's how the Catholic Encyclopedia and Encarta define it. The Britannica is not entirely consistent; it shows "in the year of the Lord" here, for example, but when it actually defines the term, it defines it as "in the year of our Lord". It doesn't matter to me; I just noticed that it had been changed back and forth in the last few edits a while ago, so I was wondering if there was a clear consensus. (FWIW, I'm not Christian; I have no particular POV to push here.) -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 18:25, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
If you read a bit further on in the 2nd paragraph of our article, there is the longer phrase Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi ("In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ"). I actually don't know where this longer formula is used, since I have never seen it elsewhere, but at least the Latin is good: Nostri here is the word translating "Our". It is probably better to stick to the literal translation and not "assume" Nostri when it isn't there. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 18:39, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed the longer version in the article lead. I've been trying to nail down a solid reference here. I'm not finding A.D. or anno Domini listed at all in several reference books. The only reference I can find is in Latin for the Illiterati (ISBN 0415917751), which renders "anno Domini" as "in the year of our Lord." -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 18:43, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
An online edition of Dionysius' tables is available at The column heading there over the AD years is "ANNI DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI". The same column heading can be found on page 180 of the Journal of the History of Astronomy V. 15 No. 3 (Oct. 1984) which I viewed at --Gerry Ashton 19:18, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I've exhausted my (very limited) knowledge, so I'm going to take myself out of this topic now. I've forwarded WP:3RR reminders to both of the editors who feel strongly about a particular rendering. -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 19:14, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, FWIW, I did find one more reference, but it's in a popular book, so it might not be considered authoritative. Calendar, by David Ewing Duncan, page 74 shows "the year of our Lord". -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 20:48, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
One of the sources already cited elsewhere in the article, Blackburn & Holford-Strevens, has this to say on page 782: "...AD stands for anno Domini, 'in the year of (Our) Lord'." I have revised the article accordingly and added a footnote. --Gerry Ashton 20:56, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what to make of this, but I just looked in the Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Under A.D., page 21, it gives a definition of: "in the year of the Lord; since Christ was born.", then below under Usage it repeats "Because ANNO DOMINI means "in the year of the Lord", ...". Does anyone have access to the O.E.D.? -- Jim Douglas (talk) (contribs) 21:16, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
STating that Anno Domini translates literally as "Year of Our Lord" is just plain incorrect and bad Latin. It doesn't matter how many sources you can come up with that propagate this ignorance. We should do better and use a literal translation. Including a citation for the ignorant mistranslation is not going to help; as we have seen the correct translation can also be cited just as easily. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 21:42, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the Blackburn & Holford-Strevens translation because anno Domini derives from the words in Dionysius Exiguus' tables "ANNI DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI" through changing to singular form and shortening. When re-expanding the short form, it is reasonable to go back to the expression from which it comes. I wonder if Codex Sinaiticus would translate ANNI DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI as years of the Lord Jesus Christ? Not that it matters, a person writing in a medium such as Wikipedia, where a person's expertise cannot be verified, cannot expect his or her characterization of an Oxford University Press publication as an "ignorant mistranslation" to be taken seriously. --Gerry Ashton 21:53, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think that argument is kind of a stretch, and would ask what source has ever made such a synthesis to produce and invisible Nostri when there is none. When Nostri is there, it can be translated. WHen it's not there, it's just an assumption. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 22:02, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

(unindent) I admit I have not found a source that gives a step-by-step descripton of if, or how, ANNI DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI was shortened to anno Domini and then to AD. However, I think we can agree that anno Domini is one of the latin names for the era we are talking about, and it should be translated as the correct "long form" English name for the same era. I don't know if we could find legislation adopting the AD era for official use in one or more English speaking countries back when the Julian calendar was in use, but we can find legislation for the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in England: the British Calendar Act of 1751[10]. That act refers to "the Year of our Lord" ten times. --Gerry Ashton 22:55, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Bear in mind that "(in the) year of Our Lord" appears many times in English - including the US Constitution. Must googlecount that vs "year of the Lord" sometime. Also remember that Latin does not use articles like English does, so we could never determine if "the" was a "correct" translation. --JimWae 21:11, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

  • 1.13 million vs 171,000 - guess which won --JimWae 21:26, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Either translation is acceptable. Latin doesn't have definite or indefinite articles (so you could translate anno domini as "in the year of the lord" or "in a year of a lord" or the other two permutations thereof), and Latin often didn't include possessive pronouns like "ours" or "mine". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .


I found this Userbox created by User:Guðsþegn:

AD This user prefers traditional terminology in date-naming

I thought it was an interesting idea, and if anyone wants to add it to their userpage just use the template {{User Anno Domini}}

--Grimhelm 23:42, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Four years in error.

The anno Domini calendar is based on erroneous calculations by Exiguus who renumbered 754 of the Roman table to A.D. 1, but whose sixth century figures were four years in error. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:57, 20 December 2006 (UTC).