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Since the later 20th century, use of CE and BCE has been popularized in academic and scientific publications and more generally by authors and publishers wishing to emphasize secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians, because it does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus, such as "Christ" and Dominus ("Lord"), which are used in the BC/AD notation, nor does it give implicit expression to the Christian creed that Jesus is the Christ.

The expression "Common Era" can be found as early as 1708 in English, and to 1635 in English as Vulgar Era.At those times, the expressions were all used interchangeably with "Christian Era".Use of the CE abbreviation was introduced by Jewish academics in the mid-19th century. However, Christians are able to retain their reference to Jesus by substituting Christian for Common: ‘Christian Era’. D.', which stands for Anno Domini (' The Year Of Our Lord') is increasingly seen as inappropriate given the majority who have different, if any, 'lords'.