I continue here with some comments about my pop quiz (see: https://ehrmanblog.org/my-faux-pop-quiz-this-semester/ and https://ehrmanblog.org/does-basic-information-about-the-nt-matter-my-pop-quiz/ ), and some of the reasons I ask the questions – that is, what I try to teach from the answers (so that the quiz is not designed to see how much the students know already). Here are two more of the questions:
- In what century were they (the books of the NT) written?
Answer: First century CE. I use this question to explain the modern usage, among historians (and others!) of BCE and CE. Of course all of us (well, all of us my age) grew up with the dating system BC and AD. Most people don’t actually know what those abbreviations mean. Nearly everyone gets “BC”: Before Christ. But I remember – or maybe I misremember – being taught when I was young that A.D. stood for “After Death.” Well that ain’t right. And a second’s reflection shows why. It would mean there would be no dates for the years between Jesus’ birth and his death! A.D. therefore stands for the Latin phrase Anno Domini, “Year of our Lord.” I’ve never figured out why one abbreviation is based on English and the other Latin; maybe someone can on the blog can tell us?
In the meantime, here’s something else most people don’t know. In correct usage…
The rest of this post is only for members. If you’re not one, there’s no time like the present. Apart from that being literally true, it’s true for the case in point. You should join now. You’ll get tons of benefit, and every penny of your small membership fee goes to help those in need. So there’s no downside!