BC vs BCE: Difference and Comparison

The common era is a notation to mention the timeline. The Gregorian and Julian are the widely used calendar, and that is called the calendar era.

The Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus is the one who introduced the numbering system with the common era. Both the BC and BCE write in reversed order.

Key Takeaways

  1. BC stands for Before Christ, and BCE stands for Before Common Era.
  2. BC refers to the period before the birth of Jesus Christ, while BCE refers to the period before the start of the Common Era.
  3. BC is primarily used in Christian cultures, while BCE is used in secular and academic contexts.


BC stands for Before Christ, and BCE stands for Before Common Era. BCE is a newer term compared to BC. BC denotes the Before Christ Era, while BCE is neutral to any community. BC is used in Journals; BCE is used in academic and science textbooks. BCE is used by the Jewish, while BC is used by others.


The BC is counting behind. Since it starts from one in the Gregorian calendar, it needs to calculate backwards to denote the years. The BC originates in Bede in the 8th century AD.

It is to mention the period before Christ or the period of the Lord’s true incarnation. If the era not denotes, it defaults to take as AD. BC is the older term of BCE.

The Christ was born between 4-6 BC. Buddha was born 400 years ago from the birth of Jesus Christ.

The BCE is the period before the common era(CE). The manuscripts dated 1708 show the BCE/CE usage of Jewish over 100 years. The first decade of the current century accepted the use of BCE/CE in academic textbooks.

In astronomical times 1 BCE/CE states as zero, and before, it is noted as a negative sign and for the period after, it marks with a positive sign. The BCE/CE accepts based on neutrality. The BCE system produces respect non-Christians.

Also Read:  TEFL vs TESOL: Difference and Comparison

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonBCBCE
Stands forBC stands for Before Christ.BCE stands for Before Common Era.
UsageBC in journalBCE in academic and scientific textbooks
People useBC use by other communities.BCE used by the Jewish community
NeutralBC works in the concept of the birth of Christ.BCE is neutral.
AnonymousBC has CEBCE has AD

What is BC?

BC stands for Before Christ. The BC/AD is the notation of years in the Julian or Gregorian calendars. The BC/AD calendar era comes with the concept of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The BC/AD is the Anno Domini dating system introduced in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus. Since it has no zero years, BC denotes the years before Christ, and AD mentions the years after the birth of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it gets confused with BC-before Christ and AD- after death. It makes that the in-between period will not come in either BC or AD scales.

According to the Indian scholar, Bramagupta zero existed, and it did not spread to Europe until the 13th century. The Roman emperor Charlemagne adopted the BC/AD system after that, it got its popularity.

Hereafter the BC/AD become an act of the dating system in Europe. The AD is the Latin term Anno Domini refers to the birth of Jesus Christ.

The term BC comes from the English monk Saint Bede. The BC/AD system comes to establish the Christian chronology by Dionysius Exiguus. Since it has no zero years, AD 1 is considered the birth of Christ, and the year before that is 1 BC.

The prehistory and the classical era in history calculate by BC, and the middle ages and modern eras calculate by AD. The Western calendar or Gregorian calendar is widely in use. The BC is a suffix, and the Ad is a prefix.


What is BCE?

BCE stands for Before Common Era. Religious neutrality is the answer for adopting the BCE/CE dating system. The Gregorian calenders will make international standards, but non-christian people won’t accept that BC and AD are of Christian origins.

Also Read:  What is T-test? | Definition, Calculation, Formula vs Examples

The AD mentions the lord period and particularly in Jesus Christ, which makes it problematic. Jewish academics adopted the BCE/CE to make neutrality, and it is a widely accepted justification for the dating system.

Jesus Christ’s birth before AD 1 and connecting the dating system to the birth of Jesus will be erroneous. The BCE/CE avoids this misleading since it doesn’t depend on Jesus Christ or refer to the birth of Jesus Christ.

It acknowledges the baggage in our dating system. Despite BCE/CE being the mainstream since 1980, it is a non-accept system by everyone. The BC/AD is widely in use.

The journalistic context prefers BC/AD and the academic and scientific textbooks use the BCE/C dating system. People also argue that the entire Gregorian calendar is Christian, and an attempt to change the dating system to BCE/CE is unwanted.

Another demonstration is that BCE/CE needs more complex work to mention the events, and BC/AD makes it simple to refer to things.


Main Differences Between BC and BCE

  1. The BC stands for Before Christ, and the BCE stands for Before Common Era.
  2. The BC is used in the journal, and the BCE is used in academic and scientific textbooks.
  3. The BC is used by many other communities, and the BCE is used only by the Jewish community.
  4. The BC works in the concept of the birth of Christ, and the BCE considers it neutral.
  5. The antonym of BC is CE, and the antonym of BCE is AD.
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=yYS4VEu08h4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA285&dq=bce+vs+bc&ots=9r-Ch-i6_K&sig=Ydr8mk1InTXmZlb4jaGQkquDgGU
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jo01294a058

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

21 thoughts on “BC vs BCE: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The introduction of the BCE/CE dating system is interesting, especially given its adoption for religious neutrality. This context is essential for a comprehensive understanding of chronology.

  2. The distinction between BC and BCE is well-explained, providing clarity on the differences and their respective religious and cultural implications.

  3. The comparison table between BC and BCE provides a succinct overview for readers to understand the differences. Great addition to the article.

  4. The connection to religious and cultural context as to why BCE is used instead of BC is fascinating. It’s important to consider this aspect when discussing historical dating systems.

  5. The avoidance of religious connotations in the BCE/CE system is a significant achievement. It shows an inclusive approach to historical dating.

    • Agreed. The article effectively highlights the importance of BCE/CE in addressing the religious inclusivity in historical dating.

  6. The explanation of how BC and AD function as suffix and prefix respectively in historical dating is enlightening. It helps to understand their chronological application.

  7. The historical context provided about the origin of BC and BCE is very informative. It adds depth to the understanding of these dating systems.


Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!