Could "Meta" propose clarifications regarding the tags:

A couple of great example questions would be very, very, helpful.

I am hoping for clear distinction between the two - preferably paralleling published-definitions that users will find searching the Internet.

Some interpretations, to jump-start, (to be removed):

  • How was this text historically interpreted?
  • What historical factors might affect interpretation of a text.
  • Or ...

I hope that "historical-criticism" (which is jargony), could end up as a tag-synonym for something like, "Historical-Analysis" or "Historical-Context", "Historical-Factors" ... Something plainly understood by non-experts.

1 Answer 1


I created the tag back in the day when there was still discussion as to whether you could ask "What does this passage mean?" So an alternative approach was "What did this passage mean to Group X?" Questions might be like:

How was Psalm 110 understood in the intertestamental period?

How did readers in the Patristic period interpret the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24?

What differences were there between the Erasmian view and the Lutheran view of Galatians?

This approach to Biblical Studies seems to be exemplified by commentaries like the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture or the similar RCS series.

I'm not so sure this is how other people have continued to use that tag, but that's how I intended for it to be used.

  • 1
    Ah! That is interesting. My own sense is that historical-interpretation is a little opaque for that use. Without checking, my hunch is that quite a fews Q&As tagged with this will seek an interpretation in keeping with the putative historical origins of the text. Perhaps a decent alternative (IMO) would be contextual-interpretation which would avoid the confusion. historical-criticism is, of course, its own thing. They could also use tag-wikis for guidance!
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 14:12
  • 1
    The tag description says, "Questions about the interpretation of a passage in light of the historical context, or about this hermeneutical approach" sounds to me like it refers to the time the passage was written. Your description in the answer sounds like what I expect when I read this tag name. Maybe the description should be clarified?
    – Frank Luke
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 17:03
  • Maybe "Contextual-Interpretation" would be ambiguous, for textual-context, locale-context, or period-context... "Interpretation-History" and "Historical-Interpretation" could indicate interpretations over time... Context-Customs (including traditions and laws), Context-Textual, Context-History ... I suppose what I am trying to suggest is that "Tag-Prefixes" that trigger "auto-complete" might be the most helpful -regardless of wording. Interpretation- ..., or Context- ... or Interpretation- ... Maybe we could error on the side of too many tag-synonyms, and more explanation in the tags? Commented May 18, 2017 at 20:22

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