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For several years I have been teaching all my students to use the BCE/CE
dating system rather than the BC/AD one. Although they both "break" at
the birth of Jesus, at least the former system uses non-sectarian terms:
"Before Common Era" and "Common Era." The latter system is, of course,
quite Christian: "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini" (referring again to
Most of my students have never encountered the BCE/CE system before, and
have questioned me about its legitimacy. I was given a boost with the
publication this year of M. Stokstad's excellent new art history book,
which uses the BCE/CE system. But my greatest thrill is that the
collegeboard will be switching to the BCE/CE system for its AP exams
beginning with the May 1998 tests!
Let's hear it for separation of church and state.
-Carla in LA