A recent question was posted by someone looking for essentially a bibliography. A strict reading of our FAQ would indicate that these are off topic since they're not properly about the Bible per se and do not fall under our seeming lone exception for the hermeneutical process itself.

That said, bibliographies are obviously an important part of the field and an expected part of any dictionary or commentary a student of the Bible might read. Given this, I could see a case for allowing these kind of questions. They could certainly add a lot of value for the experts this site is targeting.

On the other hand, I can see it like on Seasoned Advice where they have placed recipe requests off-topic. There do seem to be some similarities there in that it's hard to say that a bibliography as an answer is ever definitive or exhaustive.

My personal (slight) leaning is to allow them for the time being and see if they get good answers. But I wanted to open for discussion.

1 Answer 1


The problem with these questions and certainly with that one in particular, is that that aren't 'answerable' in the SE sense of lending themselves to a single definitive answer:

...point me to any modern biblical scholars ... looking for specific scholars/theologians and their texts...

They are similar to the category of 'shopping list' questions that Jeff Atwood blogged about, or 'product recommendation' questions talked about here on meta.stackexchange.com.

A few excerpts from the don't ask page:

Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site
avoid asking subjective questions where … every answer is equally valid

I think this question and those like it should be closed, not because they are off-topic, but because they aren't a good fit for the SE model of Q&A.

  • 1
    And the edit states: "I am looking for specific scholars/theologians and their texts as it is for a research project." I would hate to see this forum be considered a one stop research shop for any particular pet study. Good research demands digging, not just "what should I read."
    – ScottS
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 15:14

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