Simply put, BCE (Before Common Era) is a secular version of BC (before Christ). CE (Common Era) is the secular equivalent of AD (anno Domini), which means “in the year of the Lord” in Latin. A timeline showing that BC and AD mean the same thing as BCE and CE.
Is 2020 AD or BC or CE?
To cater to religious diversity, the abbreviations BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) can be used to replace BC and AD. Of note, AD is written before the year, while BC, BCE, and CE are all written after the year. For example: 2020 CE or AD 2020.
Why would we use CE BCE now instead of AD BC?
BCE/CE continues to be used because it is more accurate than BC/AD. Dionysius had no understanding of the concept of zero and neither did Bede. The BC/AD system, from Dionysius onward, was informed by Christian theology which took for granted that someone (Dionysius) actually knew the birth date of Jesus of Nazareth.
What do we use instead of BC and AD?
Breaking with centuries of tradition, the terms BC and AD are to be replaced with a system known as the Common Era. The Latin term Anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord, becomes Common Era, or CE, and Before Christ becomes Before the Common Era, or BCE.