Sunday, December 7, 2014
Ancient Rome: Before the sixth century AD, years were reckoned from the year in which the city of Rome was founded. “From the founding of Rome” is abbreviated AUC. The sixth century abbot, Dionysius Exiguus, created the year-numbering system adopted in our modern calendar. He determined that December 25, 753 AUC was the date of Christ’s birth. Because they celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1 in sixth century Rome, the abbot made January 1, 754 AUC the beginning of the Christian era. Hence 754 AUC became known as 1 AD.
The Christian Era: On January 1, 2,000 the world celebrated the new millennium. Revellers bade farewell to the 20th century with raised glasses and toasts for a healthy and happy 21st century. While it’s customary to celebrate the turn of the century in the year of naught, the new millennium didn’t actually begin until January 1, 2001. That’s because the abbot’s system of numbering years did not allow for a year zero. When 1 BC ended, 1 AD began. Indeed, December 31, 1 BC was followed by January 1, 1 AD.
AD is the abbreviation of the Latin term, anno Domini. It literally means “in the year of the Lord.” However, when used in the modern context, it means “in the (given year) since the beginning of the Christian era.” My son was born in the 1,990th year since the beginning of the Christian era.
The Creation: Tishri 1, 3761 BC is the traditional date of the Creation of Adam and Eve. The Jewish calendar is reckoned from the Creation.
Tishri 1 is the first day of the Jewish year. Most often, Tishri 1 falls in late September or early October on our modern, Gregorian calendar. Hence Tishri 1 can be equated with October 1 on our contemporary calendar. Because the Gregorian year starts 9 months before the Jewish year, the Jews add 3760 to the current Gregorian year, if the date is before October 1, to determine the Jewish year. On, or after, October 1, they add 3761 to the current Gregorian year. Today’s date is December 7, 2014. 3761 + 2014 = 5775. According to Jewish reckoning, we are in the 5,775th year since the Creation of Adam and Eve.