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Schools will snap into line, and if people protest they will be told that they are following best practice – it's what the BBC does, after all.

As it happens we are absolutely correct in both beliefs.

Of course it is true that there is perplexity about the date of Christ's birth, since Herod the Great actually died in 4 BC – and there will always be some who doubt that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed.

You know what, I just don't think this is good enough.

This decision by the BBC is not only puerile and absurd.

Even though I get most of my news from papers or the internet, I pay through the nose for the privilege of having a TV. We have all been brought up to imagine that the reason we call this year 2011 AD, or Anno Domini, is that it is 2011 years after the putative birth of Jesus Christ.We have grown up thinking that the year 2011 BC is so called because it was 2011 years Before Christ.You should not underestimate the influence of this verdict.What the BBC decides, all kinds of other publishers and broadcasters will decide to follow.

But in so far as he really was a historical figure, then it is pretty clear that he was born round about that time.Luke says that he was about 30 years old in the 15th year of the reign of the emperor Tiberius; and since Tiberius succeeded Augustus in 14 AD it strikes me that the 6th century monk Dionysius Exiguus may not have been wholly wrong in locating the BC/AD turn where he did.

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