In the nineteenth century, though, an alternative to the BC/AD dating standard showed up in English-language works of Jewish history."CE," or "Common Era," began to be used around 1838, and the use of "BCE," or "Before the Common Era," is found starting in about 1881.Of course, since the latter date is actually the year 5642 in the Hebrew calendar, these are designations superimposed upon the Gregorian calendar (used by the Jewish world for many day-to-day functions) while referring to Jewish history.

venerable bede dating bc ad-51

There is so much interaction between people of different faiths and cultures -- different civilizations, if you like -- that some shared way of reckoning time is a necessity.

And so the Christian Era has become the Common Era".

Not long after, instances of more mainstream use of the new designations emerged.

This AD method of dating was later adopted by the eighth-century Venerable Bede in .

His use of "Anno ab incarnatione Domini" was shortened to" Anno Domini," or AD.

Bede was also the first to use a designation for the distinction of the years before the birth of Christ, though he did not, of course, use the modern English "Before Christ." As it became necessary to reform the Justinian calendar, the BC/AD method was then incorporated into the Gregorian calendar of 1582.

That calendar has been used widely since, and although many other cultures continue to use their own, it has become, for the sake of consistency in international trade and communication, the standard.

In the English-speaking world, the use of the secular phrases "Before the Common Era" and "Common Era," abbreviated "BCE" and "CE," have shown up in academia, in scientific and historical works, and increasingly among the mainstream media.

Among reasons for replacing the fifteen-hundred-year-old societal norms of "BC" and "AD" is the the perceived need for sensitivity toward those who do not embrace the Christian values expressed in denoting years by "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini," or "Year of our Lord." For a number of reasons, though, not only does the new dating standard fail in its desired effect, but it may ultimately cause unintended confusion and polarization, not to mention offense to the Christian majority.

Before AD 532, there was no real dating system which distinguished between the eras we now think of as BC and AD.

At that time in Rome, a monk by the name of Dionysus Exiguus, while put to work by Pope John I setting out dates for future celebrations of Easter, estimated the year of the incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ as being 753 years after the founding of Rome.