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What does AD and BC stand for?

The meaning of AD is  Anno Domini or Year of our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth.   The meaning of BC is  Before Christ.  CE is a recent term.  It refers to Common Era and is used in place of A.D.  BCE means Before Common Era.

Many different calendars have been used since man began tracking time.  Most start with some epoch event or person.  The use of BC and AD for numbering calendar years was invented by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD.  His purpose was to determine the correct date for Easter under the direction of Pope St. John I. 

Prior to this time, one method for determining Easter was based on a 532 year calendar cycle stemming from the Alexandrian era.  Other methods were also used which led to the confusion.  Dionysius was asked to determine a method for calculating Easter that would then be used by the entire church.

Dionysius did not want to perpetuate the name of Alexander, the Great Persecutor.  He decided to start his 532 year cycle starting 753 years from the foundation of Rome.    Today, based on historical evidence relating to Herod and astronomical evidence relating to eclipses and star novas, most historians believe Christ was actually born a few years earlier.

Dionysius named the years relating to his cycle, BC meaning Before Christ which starts with year 1 (moving backwards in time) and AD meaning Anno Domini, the year of Our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth (moving forward in time.)  This is also a year 1.  There is no year 0.  (That’s the reason purists insists the 21st century actually began January 1, 2001.   For example the first year began in 1 AD and ended the beginning of  2 AD so the first year of the 21st century begins in 2001 AD and ends with the beginning of 2002 AD)

It took about 400 years for the dating system devised by Dionysius to reach common usage.

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15 thoughts on “What does AD and BC stand for?

  1. Hey. I am quite interested in finding out all history. About 2 years ago I was so interested in history that I started treasuring the thought of knowing history. It’s the same situation as putting your treasure on earth instead of heaven; I’m referring to the scripture “Matthew 6:19-6:23”. I don’t have that problem anymore. I hope to learn from your input.

  2. […] as “BC” and counts backward. So the year 5 BC happened after the year 6 BC, and so on. Check out this article for a more thorough explanation. Got it? Too much math? Sorry, here’s the timeline for this […]

  3. I noticed BC and AD are being replaced more and more by BCE and CE. I guess like not having a nativity scene on Federal or State property or not letting Congressmen say Merry Christmas (what the heck happened to free speech), the truly secular are on the job trying to get rid of all reference to Jesus.

    Do they know the premise our nation’s forefathers had when they separated church and state. It was to not have the church run the state or vice versa. It was not meant that we cannot celebrate religion. Sheesh!!!

  4. I found this very informative . It answered my question. Thank you.

  5. Hey, all of this information is awesome it helped me out a lot in school when my teacher took a pop quiz and I scored the best grade!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Easter is a pagan holiday. Ishtar. Look it up. The day to remember is Passover. That is when Christ was crucified for us. I’m not Jewish, I’m Christian. It’s time that you all find out the truth. We have been lied to all of our lives. Hard to deal with? Yes. But, better to find out now than never. Is Christmas the day of our Lord’s birth? No, it isn’t. It is the day of His conception. You can find that out by researching Elizabeth (when she was 6 months pregnant) and that John the Baptist leaped in her belly when Christ was within Mary. The actual birth of Christ is about Sept. 29th. Find the truth. It matters. Take it from there for further truth within the King James Bible. Not NIV or any other.

  7. The little peace that we have on earth is because of God and not for any other reason. The only way to keep peace is to keep God in our way of living. Earth population is approximately 7,000,000,000 Christianity population is approximately 2,000,000,000 if the Christianity population goes lower so will peace. Christians try to be good because our goal is eternal life in heaven. Accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and continuing to teach our children about him from day 1 is more important now than ever. If government succeeds in taking God away from our daily life, then lucifer will be very successful.

  8. Easter is not a Pagan holiday. You can find various websites that will claim Easter comes from the pagan sex goddess Ishtar and they make all kinds of links to the history of pagan fertility Gods. Now we all know if it is on the internet it must be true.

    In 1525 William Tyndale used the Middle English term “ester” for the day of the resurrection. There are various Anglo Saxon and German words that link to “pour” as in baptism or Old Norse “austr” to the east or rise that are probably where the current English term for Easter came from. There is an interesting article on the history of these pagan deceptions at What is discussed in this article makes a lot of sense from a historical point of view. I observe the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus because it is His victory over death that has given me new life and the promise of eternal life with Him.

  9. cool I wanted these facts cause my teacher told us to tell her what AD means!

  10. Yahushua is his sacred name get it right

  11. Is info helped me because before i didn’t know what AD and BC mean and now i know what they mean!

  12. Yeshua/ Jesus, Christianity definitely merged with Paganism. Unfortunately Easter is full blown Pagan. If anyone can point me to ANY 3 day feast, starting on a friday, through to Sunday called Easter in the Bible, I will gladly appologise for any of above statements to Easter. I do however find a Passover feast, and feast of unleavened bread, but they start on the first full moon of April, and lasts seven days. Please be so kind as to send me the Scripture of this 3 day Eater feast that we (Christians) are supposed to keep. Thank you

  13. I don’t think it really matters what actual days we celebrate Christmas and Easter. I think it matters that we just press pause in life to do it. Gods love and sending JESUS into the world to redeem us is certainly something to celebrate. Happy birthday JESUS and Thank you for the work of the cross, the resurrection and for saving us. It is really something we should celebrate everyday!

  14. Jesus was actually born in 6 BC but the calendar year started a few years after he was born

  15. The Catholic Church observes a three day celebration. Starts on Holy Thursday with what is known as The Supper of the Lord. It continues Friday with his apprehension, crucifixion and death. It culminates on Saturday with his resurrection and triumph over death. Sunday is a day of rejoicing because our Lord is Risen. As far as the name Easter, I will leave that to the experts.

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