Gloss, BC / AD / Teaching / Scholarship / Glossary /
Definitions, Ironies, Semiotic Whirligigs, Wisecracks …


Western civilization divides the calendar BC and AD. Is the division symmetrical? Sensible?

One sort of assumes a symmetry. We all know that BC was roughly two thousand years ago: therefore, it seems that time BC must also be about two thousand years. Wrong. But then contemporary civilization doesn’t want to know much about “ancient” “history,” wants even less to know “pre-history” (where pre-history represents a zillion times more time than “history”!) Indeed, many of us don’t want to know much about history before US: roughly two hundred years. Indeed, many of us can hardly remember more than two years ago.

Anyway, BC we all know “means” “Before Christ.” Again: symmetry: if the “B” means “Before,” why then the “A” must mean “After.”

The Church says that AD means Anno Domini: year of our Lord.

Wait! Where’s the symmetry? Before Christ is English; Anno Domini is Latin. What’s with the mixing of languages? What does that mean anyway, year of our Lord? Did the Kingdom of God arrive? Did Christ come back? Then how come we are what we are? behave the way we do?

pk says that the symmetry impulse has it right after all. AD means After Damnation.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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