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There has been discussion about changing the tag here and some weakness of the tag name noted here (also some confusion on what exactly "hermeneutical approaches" means as an on topic point).

I agree with the answers in both the first two posts that should be avoided, as it likely would end up in too many of the wrong places.

However, I also see validity in the second post's point that certain "procedures" may be shared across different hermeneutics. In fact, when I read the info, I see some issues with it, specifically the following two paragraphs:

Hermeneutics is the overarching term given to theories and methods of interpreting linguistic communication. Questions here regarding hermeneutical approaches ask about these methods or theories as applied to the Bible (and cognate literature).

Some hermeneutical approaches include lexical-syntactical analysis, historical/cultural analysis, contextual analysis, theological analysis, and special literary analysis. Other principles exists such as the principles of inerrancy, reverence, and historical-grammatical interpretation.

The issues I see:

  1. 1st paragraph: "ask about these methods or theories" is too vague.
  2. 2nd paragraph: the listing of types of "analysis" are really not differing hermeneutical approaches, but rather building blocks used by differing hermeneutical approaches for their flavor of interpretation (which is the point post #2 linked above was making). The weight of importance (if used at all), order of consideration, etc., for the varying types of analysis are essentially the "rules" by which a particular hermeneutical approach tends to operate.

So the question is:

Should we add a tag, perhaps labeled , that allows for discussing the granular types of analysis that may be important to various , and reformulate the latter tag to be discussions about a "set" of methods (i.e. Grammatical-Historical, Sensus Plenoir, Literal, Spiritual, Allegorical, Pardes, etc.)?

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I believe we should implement a new tag of and reformulate the .

The new might have a description something like:

Hermeneutical approaches (i.e., a hermeneutic) use a variety of methods (or rules) in analyzing the text to determine the interpretation of it. Each hermeneutic emphasizes certain methods and perhaps excludes other methods entirely. This tag marks questions about those methods. Things such as:

  • lexical/syntactical analysis (word, phrase, and sentence studies)
  • historical/cultural analysis (either of the period referred to in the text or the period in which the text was composed, if different)
  • contextual analysis (the textual context the passage is found in)
  • theological analysis (the theology carried in the text or necessary background to understanding the text)
  • special literary analysis (genre)
  • canonical analysis (the relation of the text to the "whole" group of texts)
  • critical analysis (the variations and possible editorial changes to the text as they affect meaning)

For translation methodology, see , and for textual criticism methodology, see .

The old would have the paragraphs noted modified to something like this:

Hermeneutics is the overarching term given to set of theories and their methodologies for interpreting linguistic communication. Questions here regarding hermeneutical approaches ask about such particular theories—the philosophy, presuppositions, and methods used—as applied to the Bible (and cognate literature), and hence the name of the site, Biblical Hermeneutics.

Some well known hermeneutical approaches are:

This split between the set of methods themselves (the hermeneutics) and the various types of analysis that such hermeneutics might use seems to be a good fit for the site and allow differing types of questions, as post #2 above argued for.

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  • Purely within the bounds of your post, excluding other possibilities such as Jack Douglas's, I'd still label the second set as hermeneutical-approaches. Just "hermeneutics" is too vague and inviting misunderstanding. But I'd agree with the format you have here, or Jack's.
    – Joshua
    Jan 31 '16 at 0:47
  • @JoshuaBigbee: Yes, I'm not suggesting a tag name change. The description opens with a statement about what hermeneutics is, but that is to help the user then understand what an approach to that is.
    – ScottS
    Jan 31 '16 at 1:15
  • Oh! I see it now. Sorry. I'm trying to write a question now regarding the common hermeneutical approach just before the time of Jesus. Distinguishing between the approaches and the methods used by them would be important.
    – Joshua
    Jan 31 '16 at 1:24
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Should we add a tag, perhaps labeled methodology, that allows for discussing the granular types of analysis that may be important to various hermeneutical-approaches, and reformulate the latter tag to be discussions about a "set" of methods (i.e. Grammatical-Historical, Sensus Plenoir, Literal, Spiritual, Allegorical, Pardes, etc.)?

I think one other option needs to be considered: dropping alltogether and tagging by named methodology or hermeneutic.

We do not have a tag for exegesis and such a wide tag would be of very limited use. hermeneutical-approaches is less broad on this site but perhaps still too broad, and dropping it would encourage better tags to be used and probably help us spot hermeneutics questions that don't start from a hermeneutic.

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    I would support this as well if the community decided it was the better way to go. Though one "issue" we might have would be people using these tags not to reference questions discussing the method or hermeneutic, but rather as tags to attach to interpretations of verses (I can envision someone asking about vs. X, and attaching tags for all the various types of "analysis" methods they would like to see done on it). Yet for hermeneutics, adding a single tag to a verse interpretation I could see as valid, as the user may want a better understanding of how X verse is handled by Y hermeneutic.
    – ScottS
    Jan 27 '16 at 16:11

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