- Sarah Palin to campaign for Senate candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska
- Boise business entices customers to come break stuff — ‘recreational destruction’
- Fired Yahoo exec’s $60 million golden parachute may be a record
- Arkansas gynecologist snapped nude photos of patients, police say
- Anthony Weiner on his current sexting habits: ‘None of your business’
- Producers eye Capitol Hill for latest reality TV hit
- No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes
- Putin to Snowden: We don’t collect droves of data on everyone like the U.S.
- Clemson football’s new opponent: Atheists upset with player prayer, Bible study
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election launch party will be ‘history in the making,’ brother says
P.C. scholars take Christ out of B.C.
ALBANY, N.Y. — In certain precincts of a world encouraged to embrace differences, Christ is out.
The terms “B.C.” and “A.D.” increasingly are shunned by certain scholars.
Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms “Before Christ,” or B.C., to “Before Common Era,” or B.C.E., and “anno Domini” (Latin for “in the year of the Lord”) to “Common Era.” In short, they’re referred to as B.C.E. and C.E.
The life of Christ still divides the epochs, but the change has stoked the ire of Christians and religious leaders who see it as an attack on a social and political order that has been in place for centuries.
For more than a century, Hebrew lessons have used B.C.E. and C.E., with C.E. sometimes referring to Christian Era.
This raises the question: Can old and new coexist in harmony, or must one give way to the other to reflect changing times and attitudes?
The terms B.C. and A.D. have clear Catholic roots. Dionysius Exiguus, an abbot in Rome, devised them as a way to determine the date for Easter for Pope St. John I. The terms were continued under the Gregorian Calendar, created in 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII.
Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, B.C. and A.D. have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero; there’s a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs. Critics say that’s additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.
“When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar … that’s difficult for us,” said Steven M. Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
The new terms were introduced by academics in the 1990s in public elementary and high school classrooms.
In New York, the terms are entering public classrooms through textbooks and worksheets, but B.C.E. and C.E. are not part of the state’s official curriculum, and there is no plan to debate the issue, said state Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman.
“The standard textbooks primarily used in New York use the terms A.D. and B.C.,” Mr. Burman said. Schools, however, may choose to use the new terms, although B.C. and A.D. will continue to be used in the state Regents exams, many of which are required for high school graduation.
Candace de Russy, a national writer on education and Catholic issues and a trustee for the State University of New York, doesn’t accept the notion of fence-straddling.
“The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is not mere verbal tweaking; rather it is integral to the leftist language police — a concerted attack on the religious foundation of our social and political order,” she said.
For centuries, B.C. and A.D. were used in public schools and universities, and in historical and most theological research. Some historians and college instructors started using the new forms as a less Christ-centric alternative.
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.